ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says it had been investigating a safety complaint at the Rockton Chemtool plant prior to Monday’s explosion.
OSHA confirmed that a complaint was filed May 20th. There is no word what the nature of the complaint was regarding other than was a complaint regarding safety and health.
Officials say the massive fire could burn for days. Residents within a one mile radius of Chemtool, 1165 Prairie Hill Road, were asked to evacuate.
Approximately 70 employees were evacuated and were uninjured. Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said one firefighter was treated for inhalation injuries and another treated for a leg injury. Wilson said both were released from the hospital yesterday.
Officials said the company stored lead, antifreeze, nitrogen, and sulfuric acid, among other chemicals.
Representatives from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Chemtool said they will continue to monitor the surrounding environment, including the air, the Rock River and ground water, for contaminants.
Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli issued a disaster emergency proclamation on Tuesday, in order to bring aid to the county through the Illinois Emergency Management Act. The proclamation expires on Monday, June 21st.
A hotline has been set up at 815-972-7300 and RocktonChemFire@wchd.org for residents who are seeking relief information.
At a Tuesday morning press conference, Wilson said that air monitoring devices have been set up throughout the community, and no contaminants have been detected in ground air quality.
Wilson said more than 80 fire departments from across the nation, including an industrial firefighting crew from Louisiana, US Fire Pump, have been brought in to help combat the ongoing blaze.
The crew will apply fire suppressant foam to help extinguish the half a million gallons of oil which are still burning at the plant.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is on-scene to determine if hazardous chemicals are a danger to surrounding residents following Monday’s massive fire at Chemtool.
The company manufactures fluids, lubricants and grease products which are distributed worldwide.
Lubrizol, the company that owns the Chemtool, Inc. plant which exploded Monday in Rockton, says it will continue to pay and provide benefits to employees impacted by the fire.
“We are providing our full support to our local employees. Pay and benefits will continue for employees while we work through this event, and we are providing counseling support for all those who want or need it. We do expect a total loss of the site,” the company said in a statement.
“As we affirmed yesterday, to-date test results do not show any health risk other than the short-term irritation one would normally experience in the presence of smoke. We do not expect any short or long-term health impacts otherwise,” the statement continued.