Map of Rockton, Illinois
15 Jun 2021

Large explosion at a chemical plant evacuated 1000 people near Chicago

An explosion at a chemical plant in northern Illinois created massive fires and thick black smoke high on Monday morning local time. During Tuesday, the plant was still burning, but no reports of injuries. 

The fire has been rated as severe, which means that it is posing a significant threat to life or property.

Firefighting crews were called to the scene at 7:30 a.m. The fire is near Rockton, northwest of Chicago, at Chemtool Inc. The company manufactures lubricants and other fluids, and is, according to the company, the largest manufacturer of mechanical grease in North and South America.

At 8:46 a.m Rockton Police Department posted an alert, warning that fire officials had ordered a mandatory evacuation near the plant. 

Trisha Diduch, the planning and development administrator for Rockton, said she estimates about 1,000 people are affected by the evacuation order. The order is for a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) radius.

In a statement Chemtool said: "We have confirmed all on site are safe and accounted for. Our concern right now is for the safety of all our employees and the surrounding community."