Third Suspicious Fire at Multi-Pak Near Arthur Ave North of Central Rd, Mount Propsect
Mount Prospect firefighter/paramedics responded about 3:00 a.m. Friday August 16, 2019 to a report of a fire outside in a container north of the loading dock. The fire report was met by a Hazmat Level I response by Mount Prospect Fire Department. The fire was quickly extinguished, but a thick haze hung over the north end of the factory building north of the loading dock very early Friday morning.
No injuries were reported.
The fire was the third fire reported at the address in nine days, after two fires were reported on August 7, 2019.
Multi-Pak fire involving smoldering detergent in Mount Prospect on Wednesday morning August 7, 2019.
On Wednesday August 7, 2019 at 6:03 a.m., Mount Prospect Fire Department responded to a commercial fire alarm at 1804 West Central Road at the Multi-Pak factory. While en route, Northwest Central Dispatch System (911 Center) upgraded the alarm to a Code 3 (Reported Fire) for smoke in the building. Upon arrival, smoke was confirmed and a hopper full of smoldering chemical detergent was found. The fire was extinguished and the building was ventilated. The MABAS Division 1 Mobile Ventilation Unit was dispatched to the scene.
According to Mount Prospect Fire Department, the product was contained to the building and no release outside the building was noted.
Fierce semi-trailer fire with explosion and collapse near factory loading dock at Multi-Pak chemical packaging plant in Mount Prospect on Arthur Avenue north of Central Road.
At 9:48 p.m. on Wednesday August 7, 2019, the Mount Prospect Fire Department responded to the same location and found a semi-trailer of the same smoldering chemical detergent inside the facility. The semi-trailer was removed from the facility by a private contractor, and parked north of the Multi-Pak location just south of the ComEd property. The semi-trailer proceeded to become heavily involved with fire due to the oxidizing nature of the chemical detergent inside the semi-trailer, according to Mount Prospect Fire Department. A low-lying smoke plume moved from southwest to northeast during firefighting operations. One witness reported getting caught in the smoke plume while bike riding, just east of the Stonegate neighborhood in Arlington Heights. Another witness reported getting caught in the smoke plume about 100 yards northeast of the scene. The witness described the smoke as having a very toxic odor similar to a burning transformer. The witness also described the plume as staying southeast of Prindle Avenue north of Northwest Highway as it passed to the northeast.
The fire was extinguished by the Mount Prospect Fire Department using hand lines on the ground and using a master stream from the aerial ladder of Mount Prospect Fire Department Tower Ladder 13. The fire was contained to the semi-trailer and did not extend into the building. Hazardous materials technicians from the fire department were onsite to monitor the situation. According to Mount Prospect Fire Department, there appears to be no health risk to the general public, and the cause of the fire is believed to be accidental in nature.
However, an employee at the scene told Cardinal News that a person was known to have set the fire. Also, the fire call Wednesday night was dispatched with information that a caller reported that someone tried to start a fire in the building, and then hung up. The are many non-English speaking workers at the plant, so initially it is unknown whether there was a breakdown of communications on the 9-1-1 call. However, the employee at the scene was adamant that someone started the fire intentionally.
A variety of oxidizers can intensify a fire or cause a fire with explosion. Mount Prospect Fire Department initially has not identified the oxidizer — saying only that a chemical detergent had an oxidizing nature. Inadvertent combustion can occur from improper storage of organic chemicals near oxidizers, or from the improper mixing of an oxidizer chemical with an organic chemical.
The three fire calls in a short time span are suspicious at a minimum regarding the professional standards of storage and handling practices of chemicals at the plant. Regarding whether any or all of the fires were intentionally set, Mount Prospect Fire Department has not indicated that the fires were intentionally set.
The Mount Prospect Fire Department worked Thursday August 8, 2019 at the scene to work with both the manufacturing company and the contracted site cleanup company. The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District was also on the scene to inspect the site, and also conducted surveillance of nearby waterways, including waterways to the east of the scene at Melas Park.
According to the Mount Prospect Fire Department, the Illinois State Environmental Protection Agency have both been notified to ensure cleanup of this incident meets all state, federal, and local guidelines. There were no reports of injuries to any facility workers, responders or members of the public.
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