‘I don’t even know where to go’; Rockton veteran still can’t go home after windows left open during Chemtool evacuation

Local News

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockton man is still dipslaced from his home following the Chemtool fire. We were able to catch up with him on Sunday.

He tells us he can’t return home yet because he forgot to do something as he rushed out of his home that Monday morning.

We spoke with the homeowner who says when he rushed to evacuate, he left his window open. Now, the Army veteran says he can’t go home. We went inside the home for just a few minutes to see what he is dealing with.

“I don’t even know where to go. I don’t even know where to begin. This is a nightmare. I can’t even stay here,” said Brent Loomis.

Brent Loomis lives just over a half-mile from the Chemtool plant. He says when he heard the loud explosions and saw the smoke, he quickly evacuated.

“I left everything the way it was because I kinda felt like there wouldn’t be a home when I got home. So, I left all the windows and I didn’t even think about it.”

When the evacuation order was lifted, Loomis says he came home to a very smoky house.

“My couch–you can see a black film. My house–it’s just hard. You can’t even breathe in there. I won’t go in there without a mask,” said Loomis.

Loomis tells us his services dog, Conrad, refuses to go inside.

“My dog refuses to get out of the truck here – he will not – and even when we get close to the neighborhood, he jumps in the back seat of the truck and hides.”

Clean Harbors came to clean his yard but he says no one will go inside his house and he continues to find metal on his property.

“They will not go in there, everybody says they can’t go in. But it’s okay for me to go home?”

We reached out to Chemtool about Loomis’s situation. They say because his case seems unique, the will have Clean Harbors reach out to him again. Or they say he can hire a cleaning company and submit a reimbursement form.

Loomis has not slept in his home since the fire happened. We sent Chemtool a photo of the metal Loomis showed on his lawn. They tell us, as it relates to the rest of the community, Clean Harbors continues to provide removal of fire-related debris and surface cleaning.

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

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