Seward Residents Evacuated After Chemical Plant Explosion

Seward Residents Evacuated After Chemical Plant Explosion

<span style='font-family: "Times New Roman"; font-size: 12pt;'>An explosion and fire at a Seward chemical processing plant forces the entire town to be evacuated.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></span>
An explosion and fire at a Seward chemical processing plant forces the entire town to be evacuated.


The first building that caught fire was the main warehouse that houses the chemicals--- that building is done burning, but still smoldering.


A second maintenance building is still on fire, but first responders can't use water to extinguish it--because some of the chemicals at the plant react negatively to water.


Crews are now working to contain the fire from spreading.


A loud explosion leads to a chemical plant fire at the Nova-Kem Plant in Seward. Clouds of black smoke fill the air.


Twenty fire stations, plus decontamination crews on the scene. One Nova-Kem employee was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.


Pecatonica Deputy Chief Firefighter Mike Knoup says "extremely challenging, it's not a standard fire that you just put the water on and put the flames out."


Firefighters asked residents to evacuate the area and head to Pecatonica High School. Protecting them from any potential dangers.


Knoup says "they have a tank with chlorine gas in them and if they were to rupture, we want to make sure that the public in the immediate area was evacuated, so the chlorine gas would not be a hazard to them."


Chlorine gas can react negatively to water, so firefighters chose not to extinguish the fire. There only, let it burn out.


Captain Charles Barnes of the Rockford Fire Department said "the decision to not put water on it was a decision made partially in an understanding that if we did put water on it, it could possibly spread it and give it a greater exposure problem that they would have to deal with later on."


Sarah Fender's husband is a firefighter for the neighboring town of Pecatonica. He was called to the scene, while she and their two children evacuated.


Fender says "there's always a concern when you have someone you love on the fire department. That is their job you know he does it to help the community and the people in town."

Fender acknowledges the incident has her worried for her firefighter husband, but know they are properly trained.

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