Rockton Fire Protection District Fire Chief Kirk Wilson in a press conference said they decided to let product burn with the concern that streaming water on the fire 300 meters from the Rock River would cause an environmental nightmare. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Fire was already through the roof when the first fire engine arrived on the scene about 7:00 a.m. Monday, June 14, 2021 at a chemical plant fire at Chemtool Incorporated, 1165 Prairie Hill Road in Rockton. There was no chance to stop the fire from destroying the building, according to Rockton Fire Protection District Fire Chief Kirk Wilson. Windy conditions Monday morning helped the fire spread rapidly through the building.
NWS Janesville-Rock County
NORTH 7 MPH 6:45 AM
NORTH 5 MPH 7:45 AM
NORTH 6 MPH 8:45 AM
NORTH 8 MPH 9:45 AM
NORTH 12 MPH 10:45 AM
NORTH 9 MPH 11:45 AM
VARIABLE 13 MPH G 24 MPH 12:45 PM
NORTH 14 MPH G 23 MPH 1:45 PM
NORTH 12 MPH G 24 MPH 2:45 PM
NORTH 13 MPH G 20 MPH 3:45 PM
NORTH 12 MPH G 17 MPH 4:45 PM
NORTH 14 MPH G 20 MPH 5:45 PM
NORTHEAST 13 MPH G 18 MPH 6:45 PM
EAST 7 MPH 7:45 PM
The initial 9-1-1 call was for smoke in the building, and all employees were evacuated before firefighters were arrived.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury, but was able to walk to an ambulance. No employees and no residents were injured.
There were no air quality issues at ground level at the plant. Several agencies were assisting with monitoring air quality, including a Rockford hazmat crew, during the day Monday.
MASSIVE EXPLOSION seen at Rockton, IL's Chemtool plant. (Courtesy: WLS). LATEST: https://t.co/RGYxyJ8k2e pic.twitter.com/AtehTezor8
— Eyewitness News WTVO/WQRF (@MyStateline) June 14, 2021
More details: https://t.co/H65f6j85gR https://t.co/IBnAH33xYe
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) June 14, 2021
I am off of Route 2 now in the media staging area. pic.twitter.com/jP2mpgCSlE
— Maggie Polsean (@MaggiePolsean) June 14, 2021
BREAKING NEWS: Multiple departments were called to handle a large fire at a manufacturing plant in Rockton. https://t.co/YJiDYnAXU6
— 13WREX (@13WREX) June 14, 2021
There were some spot fires and grass fires that occurred during the day that were ignited from falling, burning debris. Rockton Fire Protection District Fire Chief Kirk Wilson, the debris falling from the sky was likely building material that is not likely a toxic substance from the petroleum product that was burning. However, he said recon crews will pickup debris throughout town. Wildland firefighters from Lake County (MABAS Division 4) were also assigned to extinguish spot fires in Rockton.
About 150 homes were evacuated by “strong suggestion” … there was no mandatory evacuation. According to Fire Chief Kirk Wilson air quality conditions near the ground near the building were safe.
Between 40 and 45 fire agencies from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin with up to 175 fire suppression personnel on the scene.
A MABAS Division 8 Box Alarm #11 to the 2nd Alarm was activated at 7:10 a.m. Monday.
The Box Alarm was elevated to the 4th Alarm at 7:25 a.m.
A special request for ladder trucks was activated at 7:34 a.m.
The Box Alarm was elevated to the 6th Alarm at 7:48 a.m.
An Interdivisional Box Alarm was activated, requesting the MABAS Division 4 Wildland Task Force from Lake County at 11:15 a.m.
Later in the afternoon an Interdivisional task force from MABAS Division 6 (communities near DeKalb) and MABAS Division 3 (near north suburbs near Des Plaines and Northbrook).
A special request for a light (illumination) truck from Chicago Heights (MABAS Division 24) was also requested.
A Rolling Meadows ladder truck also responded as part of a MABAS strike force at about 9:10 p.m. Monday.
The Chemtool building was completely consumed, and the fire chief said the fire could continue to burn for several days. Initially, the cause of the fire was unknown. No employees had been interviewed prior to the press conference, according to Fire Chief Kirk Wilson.
Rockton Chemtool Plant smoke plume from 59 Miles away near Payton Hill Arlington Heights. YouTube Tips ⓘ
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