Federal agents deployed to Rockton to investigate Chemtool plant fire

Local News

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Two investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board are being deployed to Rockton to determine the circumstances that led to last week’s Chemtool plant explosion.

According to the CSB, two senior leadership members will gather information at the site and make a recommendation on how to proceed.

Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said last week that the Department of Justice and the Department of Alcohol, Tobbaco, Firearms and Explosives determined that there was no suspicious or criminal activity to blame for the explosion and subsequent fire.

The Chemtool plant, at 1165 Prairie Hill Road, caught fire and exploded on Monday, June 14th, sending a dark plume of smoke into the air that could be seen for miles.

As of today, the fire suppression operation is still underway although officials say it has the majority is under control.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been analyzing air, water and soil samples for contaminants. Residents within a one-mile radius of the plant were evacuated out of precaution, but were allowed back in their homes on Friday.

Preliminary results of initial samples indicate no detection of semivolatile organic compounds, according to the Illinois EPA.

Health officials have declared the air safe to breathe, and Chemtool has said the materials that burned at the factory are not dangerous.

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

The CSB will work “to determine the conditions and circumstances that led to the incident and to identify the cause or causes so similar incidents might be prevented.”

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