Massive chemical plant fire in U.S. prompts authorities to order evacuations

Massive chemical plant fire in U.S. prompts authorities to order evacuations

Authorities are allowing a massive chemical plant fire in Rockton, Illinois, burn itself out, which could take several days, rather than risk chemical runoff spilling into the nearby Rock River.

Fire department officials said the air near the plant is safe at ground level, and no workers were injured in the explosion and fire at the Chemtool factory in Rockton. The fire prompted a mandatory evacuation order near the plant.

The fire began around 7 a.m. at the Chemtool plant. Some neighbors in the area reported hearing small explosions as the fire started burning. The company manufactures fluids, lubricants, and grease products for machinery.

More than 40 fire departments were called in to help contain the fire, fighting falling debris and grass fires in nearby yards, CBS reported.

Rockton Police said the Rockton Fire Protection District has ordered a mandatory evacuation for all homes and businesses within one mile of the factory. As of late Monday night, a total of 1,500 people living within five blocks of the plant had been evacuated from their homes.

Wilson said all 70 employees who were working at the plant at the time were also safely evacuated. No workers were hurt, but one firefighter suffered a minor injury.

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