A massive explosion and fire at the Chemtool plant, 1165 Prairie Road, in Rockton, IL, has caused huge plumes of ash and debris to blanket homes and businesses two miles and further from the plant, not only in Rockton but in South Beloit and other communities, as well. Chemtool manufactures greases, including lithium, lithium complex, aluminum, and clay/bentonite greases.
Along with the debris, it is likely that toxic chemicals have also been released into the air in these communities, and that residents will be inhaling them for some time to come. Local officials have asked residents living within a mile of Chemtool to evacuate for their own protection, due to the potentially dangerous chemicals released in the fire. It is estimated that as many as 1000 people may be affected.
We hope that initial reports of no fatalities—either Chemtool plant workers or Rockton area residents—are correct. If so, it is a great blessing amidst the shock and danger of this explosion.