Industrial fire in Morris prompts evacuations, National Guard called in

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MORRIS, Ill. (WTVO) — A fire at an industrial plant in Morris prompted evacuations on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire occurred in the 900 block of E. Benton Street, at a former paper mill.

Nick Doefler, a spokesman for the agencies responding to the fire, said there were no reported injuries related to the fire at a subdivided warehouse. The blaze started at around noon.

He said firefighters at the scene were awaiting instructions on how to combat the blaze, explaining that because the batteries are inside, they can’t extinguish it with water.

“You can’t spray water on it, it’s an explosive hazard,” he said. “We are waiting for additional resources to figure out how to fight it.”

The Grundy County Sheriff’s Department has evacuated residents in a four block radius of the site.

Doefler said the order was made out of concern about the effects of breathing the smoke from the fire. He did not immediately know how many people are affected by the evacuation order.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has activated the National Guard to aid with the recovery.

A spokesperson for the Mutual Aid Agency in Coal City said the building contained hazardous materials.

A reception area has been set up at the Grundy County Administration Building at 1320 Union Street.

No injuries have been reported, according to WLS.

He said the cause of the fire has not been determined.

The evacuation comes two weeks after an explosion and massive fire at a chemical plant near Rockton forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes for several days as the fire burned. Nobody at the plant or the surrounding community was injured by the June 14 fire that officials later determined was started accidentally during maintenance work.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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