LIVE: Officials hold briefing on Chemtool fire response in Rockton


ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — State and local officials are scheduled to hold a Tuesday morning briefing at 9 a.m. CT on the ongoing response to the chemical fire that took place Monday morning at Chemtool.

Winnebago County Board Chairman Joseph Chiarelli proclaimed a disaster emergency on Tuesday, in order to bring aid to the county through the Illinois Emergency Management Act.

The fire continued to burn overnight. Officials have said that they anticipate it will burn for several days, until the oil-based products manufactured at the plant burn off.

Residents within a one mile radius of Chemtool, 1165 Prairie Hill Road, were asked to evacuate due to possible dangerous chemicals being released in a large fire at the facility Monday morning.

Approximately 70 employees were evacuated and were uninjured. Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said one firefighter was treated for injuries.

A massive dark plume of smoke extended south-southeast from the fire, raining ash and debris on residents as far south as DeKalb.

Rockton Middle School, at 6121 Elevator Rd, has been set up as an evacuation site.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has arrived on-scene to determine if hazardous chemicals are a danger to surrounding residents following Monday’s massive fire at Chemtool.

The company manufactures fluids, lubricants and grease products which are distributed worldwide.

Officials said the company stored lead, antifreeze, nitrogen, and sulfuric acid, among other chemicals.

The Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center is tracking the smoke plume and wind direction, and says the area directly impacted is two miles to the south of Chemtool.

The county health department is asking residents within one mile of Chemtool to evacuate, and those within 2 miles to stay indoors and close windows and doors, and turn off air conditioners.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is advising those residents to wear a mask if they are within 3 miles of Chemtool.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.