ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — A Louisiana-based firefighting crew is in the Stateline helping at the Chemtool site. We were able to speak with the first responders Tuesday to find out more about what they’re doing.
The Rockton fire is getting smaller, thanks in part to the Louisiana-based U.S. Fire Pump. The company is using foam and other tools most fire departments don’t have on hand.
“This is their forte. This is what they do they fight industrial fires,” said Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson. “The US Fire Pump industrial firefighting group is on scene they are putting copious amounts of water on the fire and also on the hot spots.”
That’s what has helped turn the massive black cloud of smoke and flames into a haze over the Chemtool plant.
“What we’ve done in the last couple of hours is two-fold, we’ve got our equipment in place and manpower in place to begin extinguishing operations,” said Jonny Carroll, an exeucitve with U.S. Fire Pump. “Second and more importantly we’ve been focused on using earth moving equipment to create trenching to minimize any residual runoff to the Rock River.”
The skilled fire fighting company is contacted when needed to assist fire crews that don’t have the same gear as them.
Carroll says the crew of 27 fire specialists landed in Janesville Monday evening.
“We understand the position some of these departments are put in. They may not have enough equipment, or they may not have the proper equipment just because it’s not something they use every day,” said Carroll. “Right now we’re able to draw 20,000 gallons per minute to supplement and aid the different pieces of fire apparatus that are around.”
Rockton Fire Protection District Chief Kirk Wilson says the company’s tools–which include a blanket of foam–is helping to put the fire out.
“The foam acts as a blanketing agent, so once they put the actual blanket of foam on it, it actually suppress the fire,” said Chief Wilson. “Our fire apparatus can’t do that.”
The Chemtool fire is still burning and fire crews are closely monitoring hot spots.
Photos provided by NORTHERN ILLINOIS FIRE GROUND PHOTOGRAPHY.