Cleanup underway, but some Rockton residents fear long-term effects of Chemtool disaster


ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — It has been one week since the Chemtool chemical facility went up in flames and some residents are still cleaning up the debris blown onto their property by the explosion.

Chemtool arranged for the company Clean Harbors to assist residents in picking up the pieces.

Residents with debris from the fire are encouraged to contact Clean Harbors at 877-552-8942 for assistance with removal.

While some homeowners reported being happy with the clean up operation, others say they still haven’t received a return call.

“Just stand in front of Rockton and tell us what’s in our air, what’s in our water, what’s in our ground,” said Pam Eucker, who returned to her home on Monday morning.

Clean Harbors came to their property on Sunday to pick up debris after she called on Thursday.

“They walked the back, they walked the front, and they picked it all up. I was happy with the results,” Eucker said.

Eucker and her husband say they are taking extra precautions.

“We bought kinda white painters HAZMAT suits and Mark [my husband] got on the roof and washed down all the roof. Then, we washed down the side of the house and all the windows,” she said.

Not all homeowners have heard back from Clean Harbors.

“I would go out and clean it up myself, but I just want to know if its okay for me to be out there,” said Kimberly Muller, who lives in South Beloit.

Winnebago County Health Department Dr. Sandra Martell advised against residents touching the debris with their hands.

Muller said she called the company on Saturday when she noticed her dog was not felling well.

“She had tar all over her feet, and I did too. I didn’t realize it was in my yard,” she said.

Cassidy Sodergren, of Rockton, said she had similar concerns: “I just knew that there were other types of debris, other than the big chunks that people are finding everywhere. It’s a whole building that exploded. There was lots of metal within the one-mile mark.”

Sodergren said she spoke with Clean Harbors, who said they aren’t looking for metal in yards.

“They told me that they were told by who they were hired by to only pick up insulation. That was there specific word, insulation,” she said.

We reached out to Chemtool and Clean Harbors for a response, but had not received one at press time.

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