Illinois Chemical Plant Explosion Causes Massive Fire, Prompts Area Evacuations

A chemical plant explosion in Illinois caused a massive fire and prompted evacuations for residents near the area.

In a statement issued by the Rockton Police Department, they said that Rockton Fire "has ordered a mandatory evacuation due to a chemical fire."

"This notice affects all residents and businesses in a one-mile radius of 1165 Prairie Hill Rd. Proceed to Stephen Mack Middle School. Avoid area in one-mile radius," the statement said.

Police Line
Police tape hangs across the street in front of a house in Park City, Kansas on February 26, 2005. Larry W. Smith/Getty

In a Facebook post shortly after the statement was issued, the Rockton Police Department confirmed that the explosion and subsequent fire occurred at the Chem Tool chemical plant.

"The Fire at Chem Tool is still unfolding. We are actively evacuating those closest. We cannot respond to individual messages," the Facebook post said. "If you are in the one-mile radius, please evacuate. Stephen Mack School on Old River Rd. is the evacuation site if you have nowhere else to go. Please inform your neighbors that may not be on social media. And avoid the area."

A subsequent post stated that Roscoe Middle School was offering shelter to those in the area that were forced to evacuate. "If you have no place to evacuate, head to Roscoe Middle School. 6121 Elevator Rd.," the Rockton Police Department said.

Newsweek reached out to the Rockton Fire Protection for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

It is unclear what caused the explosion at the chemical plant.

Shortly after the explosion and subsequent fire were reported, several videos and pictures of the incident circulated across social media.

In one video posted by WTVO-TV in Rockton, the fire can be seen from an aerial view while multiple fire officials attempt to put the fire out.

MASSIVE EXPLOSION seen at Rockton, IL's Chemtool plant. (Courtesy: WLS). LATEST: https://t.co/RGYxyJ8k2e pic.twitter.com/AtehTezor8

— Eyewitness News WTVO/WQRF (@MyStateline) June 14, 2021

Another video posted by Twitter user Michelle Hughes shows multiple smoke plumes moving throughout the sky.

"Rockton, IL fire from Chemtool. Unfortunately its in my backyard. Explosions still happening. We have evacuated the area. This was from a few hrs ago," Hughes wrote.

Rockton, IL fire from Chemtool. Unfortunately its in my backyard. Explosions still happening. We have evacuated the area. This was from a few hrs ago. pic.twitter.com/tP6YyfNENr

— Michelle Hughes (@Michell67462215) June 14, 2021

Jeanette Hudson of WBBM-TV in Chicago posted four different pictures on Twitter capturing the massive smoke clouds emitted by the fire.

"#Rockton - a massive fire is burning at the Chemtool manufacturing plant. Fire dept issued a mandatory evacuation for anyone within a mile of the building. Large flames/some explosions. Gigantic plume of smoke (we could see it earlier this morning all the way from West Chicago)," Hudson wrote in the tweet.

#Rockton - a massive fire is burning at the Chemtool manufacturing plant. Fire dept issued a mandatory evacuation for anyone within a mile of the building. Large flames/some explosions. Gigantic plume of smoke (we could see it earlier this morning all the way from West Chicago). pic.twitter.com/3vc6xk36tO

— Jeanette Hudson (@JHudsontraffic) June 14, 2021

Twitter user Scott Dimmich, a certified meteorologist, shared a gif of the smoke that can be seen from space.

"A large chemical fire near Rockton, Illinois (west of Chicago)...can be seen from space. Yikes. #ilwx 4 hour color/fire GOES-16 imagery," the tweet said.

A large chemical fire near Rockton, Illinois (west of Chicago)...can be seen from space. Yikes. #ilwx 4 hour color/fire GOES-16 imagery: pic.twitter.com/UNJSZ1hV1X

— Scott Dimmich (@ScottDimmich) June 14, 2021

As WLS-TV in Chicago reported, the Chem Tool plant has had no compliance violations with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the past three years.