Ethylene Oxide/Sterigenics Updates

Massive Explosion at Chemtool Plant in Rockton Triggers Evacuations

Explosion-1-300x188UPDATE: The Collins Law Firm. P.C. and Miner Barnhill & Galland, P.C. have filed a class action lawsuit against Chemtool Incorporated on behalf of residents affected by the explosion and fire that caused them to be evacuated from the area.

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 issued a mandatory evacuation order for residents living within a mile of Chemtool due to the falling ash and the potentially dangerous chemicals released in the fire. At least 1000 residents have been evacuated, along with several businesses. In addition, anyone within three miles of the plant has been advised to wear a mask for protection.

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.

The long-term damage caused to the local residents will take some time to be fully known, but it is already clear that many hundreds of the residents have lost—hopefully for only a short period of time—their right to use and enjoy their home.

For the past 20 years, the environmental lawyers here at The Collins Law Firm, have represented communities whose property rights have been damaged by pollution caused by harmful chemicals being released into the air and water.  We are also one of the lead law firms representing plaintiffs suing Sterigenics in Willowbrook for the cancers that they allege were caused by the company’s toxic ethylene oxide emissions.

If you believe your health or property has been damaged because of the Chemtool explosion, then, once you are sure you are out of harm’s way, please feel free to contact us, so that we may tell you what your legal rights are in a situation like this. Call us at (630) 527-1595 or fill out our contact form for a FREE consultation.   

For more information on the class action lawsuit, click here.    

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