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Massive Chemical Plant Explosion Rocks Small Town, Residents Evacuated

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Ailan Evans Tech Reporter
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An explosion at a chemical plant Monday in Rockton, Illinois, prompted authorities to evacuate residents in a one-mile radius of the site.

The Chemtool manufacturing facility in Rockton caught fire around 7 A.M., with neighbors reporting small explosions and smoke that could be seen for miles, KCRG reported. Residents within a one-mile radius were evacuated to the local middle school, and drivers have been ordered to avoid the area, Rockton officials told ABC 7 Chicago. (RELATED: Hurricane Harvey Responders Sue Chemical Plant For Allegedly Exposing Them To Toxins)

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Chemtool, a manufacturer of greases, lubricants, and fluids, is owned by The Lubrizol Corporation, a Berkshire Hathaway company.

“We have confirmed all on site are safe and accounted for. Our concern right now is for the safety of all our employees and the surrounding community,” said Alicia Gauer, Director of Global Communications for The Lubrizol Corporation, in a statement Monday.

“We do not yet know what caused this incident, but we will be working with local authorities and with our own risk management team to determine what happened and identify any corrective actions. We will share more details as they are known.”

The Lubrizol Corporation said in an updated statement Monday afternoon that company “health and safety experts are completing a thorough analysis of all materials burned.”

“We are working with third-party experts and government agencies on environmental air and water monitoring,” the company said. “We are not aware of any test results that show health risk other than the short-term irritation one would normally experience in the presence of smoke.

Salvation Army volunteers have set up a field kitchen to provide meals and beverages to first responders, KCRG reported.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the most recent statement from the Lubrizol Corporation.

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Ailan Evans

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