Explosion and Fire at Chemtool Facility Forces Evacuations

Mandatory evacuations were ordered after an explosion and fire erupted at an industrial lubricant plant in Rockton, Illinois, on Monday morning, June 14, officials said.

Residents living within one mile of the Chemtool plant explosion on Prairie Hill Road were ordered to evacuate as crews from multiple departments responded to the scene.

Smoke was visible from at least 50 miles away, according to reports.

According to a statement released by the Lubrizol Corporation, all Chemtool employees were safe and accounted for.

“We do not yet know what caused this incident, but we will be working with local authorities and with our own risk management team to determine what happened and identify any corrective actions. We will share more details as they are known,” the press release read.

Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said in a press conference that the plant had been evacuated of approximately 70 employees prior to the fire department’s arrival on Monday morning. One firefighter was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Wilson said roughly 40 to 45 different agencies from Illinois and southern Wisconsin responded to the fire, with about 150 to 175 fire personnel on the scene.

Footage taken from the ground and by drone show views of the fire on Monday. Credit: Gale Wallace via Storyful