Massive Fire at Illinois Chemicals Plant Termed 'Environmental Nightmare'

A massive fire at a chemical plant in Northern Illinois could rage on for days and cause major environmental disaster, the authorities have said.

The crisis arose after the Chemtool Inc. plant in Rockton caught fire on Monday, triggering a huge evacuation effort.

Undisclosed Reason

Massive plumes of smoke went up in the sky after the plant that makes lubricants and assorted products caught fire owing to a yet undisclosed reason.

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The blaze has threatened an "environmental nightmare," authorities have said, according to NBC News.

"The building is pretty much consumed ... We're thinking that this is going to be a several-day event to have all of this product burned off. And that's the best thing we can do right now," Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said, the outlet reported.

As many as 70 employees were at the plant when the fire broke out, but none of them suffered any injury.

"We have confirmed all on site are safe and accounted for ... Our concern right now is for the safety of all our employees and the surrounding community," Chemtool said in a statement.

It further added that as a precaution, authorities have evacuated residents in a one-mile radius of the site.

1,000 People Affected

The company said it does not know what caused the fire but was "working with local authorities and with our own risk management team to determine what happened and identify any corrective actions."

According to NPR, the planning and development administrator for Rockton, Trisha Diduch, said about 1,000 people will be affected by the evacuation order.

The outlet also said the US Environmental Protection Agency investigators from Chicago were travelling to the scene.