ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — The Chemtool plant fire in Rockton impacted hundreds of residents and forced an evacuation. On Tuesday, the Village of Rockton announced teams will begin assessing any fire-related damages to homes and businesses.
Crews have been out since early morning, focusing primarily on residents that live within one mile of the Chemtool plant who were forced to evacuate.
“I’m very happy that they seem to be making efforts to figure out what happened and talking to local homeowners, and not forget about [us], even though the fire is dying down, that we’re not forgotten about,” said homeowner Dan Enderle.
Enderle said he was pleased to see the assessment crews in his neighborhood on Tuesday. “They were asking what kind of debris do we have in our yard, what exactly fell, and what we thought about different things,” he said.
South Beloit resident Betty Conklin said it was a welcome surprise seeing Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) officials on her doorstep.
“I was surprised. I was baking my cookies and [had] a knock on the door. This nice looking guy comes to the door and said who he was, and he was kind of checking on us. I thought that was really great,” she said.
Several organization are assisting IEMA with assessments, including veteran-led Team Rubicon.
“Team Rubicon has been tasked with overseeing the volunteers and making sure that the tasks get done,” said Team Rubicon’s incident commander, Jodi Moyer. “We’re working closely with these teams to get these damage assessments done as quickly and efficiently and completely as possible.”
Team Rubicon’s Rebecca Clark added, “Before you start cleaning up, make sure that you take photos to document the damage, the condition of the property that you’re coming back to.”
Enderle says the property and damage assessments are a step in the right direction.
“We just want to continue to have accountability for Chemtool and get answers, so that way we can have reassurance that we can be safe outside, have our kids be outside,” he said.
Assessment crews are wearing yellow vests and carry identification. IEMA is encouraging homeowners to always ask for ID to avoid scams.