Explosions, Fire at Carus Environmental Products Company in LaSalle, Illinois

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Satellite view of Carus Chemical LaSalle, Illinois (Imagery ©2023 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, U.S. Geological Survey, Map data ©2023)
Satellite view of Carus Chemical LaSalle, Illinois (Imagery ©2023 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, U.S. Geological Survey, Map data ©2023).

Firefighters from LaSalle responded about 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, January 11, 2023 to chemical warehouse fire at Carus at 1500 8th Street in LaSalle.

Residents were rocked by multiple explosions just before 9:00 a.m. At least one citizen reported specks of debris on the windshield of their vehicle while traveling on Interstate 80.

Specks of debris on the windshield of a vehicle on Interstate 80 near LaSalle (PHOTO CREDIT: Martin Padilla/Facebook)
Specks of debris on the windshield of a vehicle on Interstate 80 near LaSalle (PHOTO CREDIT: Martin Padilla/Facebook).

Due to recent events, an oxidizer (which appears green in color) has been released in the area. Do NOT touch this substance. If you see this substance near or on your residence it can be deactivated.

In order to deactivate it, you will need a 1:1:1 mixture of: 1 gallon of water, 1 gallon of peroxide, 1 gallon of vinegar.

At this time, we are asking that LaSalle residents continue to shelter in place.

City of LaSalle Police Department (10:43 AM WED JAN 11 2023)

The City of LaSalle on their official website notified residents that “(t)here was a fire at the Carus Chemical building. First responders are on the scene addressing the issue.” The city did not initially notify people about the risk of oxidizer exposure on their official website — only on Facebook.

Residents living nearby were asked to shelter in place. However, there was no radius distance provided for the Shelter in Place indicated by the City of LaSalle.

The City of LaSalle also asked “everyone else” to remain out of the area to allow first responders the room to work.

A MABAS Division 25 Box Alarm #101 was activated to the second level at 9:05 a.m., and was upgraded to the fourth level with an EMS Box Alarm at 9:43 a.m.

An EMS Box Alarm #201 to the Second Level was activated at 10:17 a.m.

The MABAS Division 6 HazMat team was requested at 11:11 a.m.

Weather conditions around the time of the explosion according to the NWS station at Illinois Valley Regional Airport (KVYS) were the following at 8:55 AM …

Air Temperature 38°F
Wind: Calm
Humidity: 93% Fog/Mist
Altimeter: 29.81 in (falling)


Wednesday: Patchy fog between noon and 3pm. Otherwise, cloudy, with a high near 47. South southeast wind around 5 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

Wednesday Night: A 50 percent chance of rain, mainly after 3am. Cloudy, with a low around 36. West northwest wind 5 to 15 mph becoming north after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

Thursday: A chance of rain before 3pm, then a slight chance of rain and snow. Cloudy, with a high near 38. Breezy, with a north northwest wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Thursday Night: A chance of flurries. Cloudy, with a low around 27. Northwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

Friday: Partly sunny, with a high near 33. North northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

According to the company website, the Carus Chemical Plant creates and sells chemicals and products for municipal water, wastewater, air, mining and remediation.

Chemicals and chemical categories involved at Carus include …

Potassium permanganate
Potassium permanganate are not combustible, but will
support combustion. Potassium permanganate is to be kept away from acids, peroxides, and all combustible organic or readily oxidizable materials including inorganic oxidizable materials and metal powders. Potassium permanganate can cause irritation to skin and mucous membranes, and is odorless, but has a sweetish, astringent taste.

Phosphates are not flammable, and Carus blended phosphate products are not expected to cause irritation to skin, eyes or respiratory tract. However, in applications where dust, vapors or mist are created, inhalation may cause irritation to the respiratory tract.

Symptoms may include coughing and shortness of breath. The health effects of Carus blended phosphate products are minimal. Since they are of neutral pH, any impact on exposure is minimal. However contact on skin may cause irritation, inflammation and pain on prolonged contact, especially with moist skin. Eye contact may cause
irritation, redness, and pain.

Polymers are used for municipal and industrial water treatment processes.

Catalysts are used for air and gas purification, including ozone elimination and ethylene oxide emission control.


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