Chemical plant catches fire in Illinois


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A chemical plant in northern Illinois went up in flames on Wednesday (11 January) morning causing officials to advise nearby residents to shelter in place as emergency crews responded to the blaze, according to Reuters.

The fire broke out at the Carus Chemical Company complex in LaSalle, a city of less than 10,000 residents located about 100 miles southwest of Chicago. The chemical company produces an oxidant used to treat drinking and waste water, phosphates for corrosion control, and carbon capture products used for air purification.

Fire crews were called to the scene at 9am following an explosion at the plant. The subsequent blaze caused significant damage before it was contained, LaSalle Fire Chief Jerry Janick said at a news conference. Additional equipment was ordered to fully extinguish the fire and start an investigation.

A spokesperson for the family-owned company said that all workers were evacuated and accounted for with no injuries. A shelter order remained in place for residents north and west of the incident, Fire Chief Janick said.

LaSalle police alerted the public that a green-coloured oxidizer was released in the area and warned residents against touching the substance. LaSalle Police Chief Mike Smudzinski said: “Hats off to the fire department because I think a good portion of this blaze was knocked down within a good hour.”

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