Rockton Chemtool fire sent debris to neighboring towns

Local News

ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Monday’s explosion sent ash and debris flying… some even crossing borders into neighboring towns.

Health officials say it’s best not to touch the particles.

“When I first realized this was a chemical fire, one of the things that were concerning was that there would be possible explosions. What exactly were these chemicals and if these were fumes that would be potentially dangerous for us,” said resident David Trevino.

People living near the Rockton Chemtool plant to those living miles away are finding debris from Monday’s fire. Some pieces are small while others are the size of laptops.

David Trevino says it was alarming just looking up at the sky.

“It was a little scary just because not knowing exactly what the big effect would be. Again, if there were any explosions, we noticed the debris was falling all throughout the yard, all throughout the neighborhood. We wanted to make sure that, you know, obviously, that the lawn and the yard wouldn’t catch on fire,” Trevino said.

Winnebago County Health Director Dr. Sandra Martell advises people not to touch the debris and to throw it away into a separate garbage bag.

“We don’t know what the material is. It could be packing material it could be bits and pieces of drums and things like that. It’s safer to not touch the material. Rake it up, use a shovel, put on gloves, put it in the garbage that’s separated and we will then advise you of how to dispose of that waste,” Dr. Martell said.

Trevino believes the debris in his yard is concerning and there are other questions on his mind.

“We’re just hoping that there are no after-effects, there are no safety issues in the future as well. Whether it be just breathing in these possible fumes that’s on the ground level,” said Trevino.

If you have questions regarding how to move forward, the Winnebago County Health Department has set up a hotline at 815-792-7300.

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