Residents ordered to shelter in place after La Salle chemical plant explosion, blaze


Firefighers battle a chemical plant fire in LaSalle on Wednesday. No one was harmed. A shelter-in-place order was imposed.

ABC 7 Chicago

Residents of La Salle in northern Illinois were asked to shelter in place Wednesday morning after a possible explosion caused a fire at the Carus Chemical plant.

About 9 a.m., a fire erupted in the shipping area of the plant in the 1500 block of 8th Street, according to a press release posted on the chemical plant’s website. In response to the incident, the La Salle Fire Department imposed a voluntary shelter-in-place order for residents in a three-block radius of the plant.

The city later lifted the order about 5 p.m., but warned residents of a green-colored oxidizer that had been released in the area as a result of the fire.

The La Salle Police Department said the oxidant could be deactivated, and anyone who comes in contact with the substance can treat themselves with a solution of 1 gallon of water, 1 gallon of peroxide and 1 gallon of vinegar.

According to the company’s website, the plant produces potassium permanganate, a chemical compound used to treat drinking water, wastewater and industrial chemicals.

A spokesperson from the chemical plant said the oxidizer was not toxic.

Still, police warned the public to avoid touching the substance.

La Salle Fire Chief Jerry Janick said a possible explosion may have led to the blaze, but the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Though the building had significant damage, Janick said, the fire appears to be contained as of 6 p.m.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries and was treated and released, officials said. No other injuries have been reported, and all workers at the plant have been accounted for, officials said.

The Illinois EPA said it will continue to test and monitor air quality in the area.

City officials will release another update about the incident Thursday afternoon.

Residents with questions about the incident can call Carus Chemical at (815) 224-6206.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *