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Large chemical fire prompts evacuation in Rockton, Illinois

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Posted at 9:28 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 12:43:04-04

ROCKTON, Ill. — A large chemical fire has prompted a mandatory evacuation in Rockton, Illinois, a community located along the state’s border with Wisconsin.

The Rockton Police Department issued a notice Monday morning that warned of the evacuation that affects all residents and businesses in a one-mile radius of the industrial fire, located in the 1100 block of Prairie Hill Rd.

Evacuees were told to proceed to Roscoe Middle School and to avoid the area of the fire, which police say broke out at a Chemtool Inc. facility. The company produces industrial lubricants.

Aerial footage of the fire showed large plumes of black smoke and tall flames rising out of the building.

Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson told WLS that crews are still evaluating the fire, but he expects residents may be able to return to their homes and businesses in several hours.

Wilson said one firefighter suffered an injury at the scene, but it appeared minor.

Wilson said residents should contact authorities if any falling debris causes more fires in the area.

Mayor John Peterson said Chemtool is a “huge employer” in the community and that the fire is likely going to be “devastating” to a lot of workers. Wilson said the company employs about 70 workers at the affected facility.