Evacuation order lifted after massive Rockton fire

Chicago News

ROCKTON, Ill. Residents of Rockton are now finally able to return back to their homes following a massive fire at a chemical plant.

The fire began Monday morning, with fire crews still spraying the site on Friday, working to prevent any flareups.

While many residents are happy to be back home, some are worried about the debris from the fire that has been left in their yards.

For many of the residents, the sights of Monday looked straight out of a horror film.

“I looked out my bedroom window and saw the smoke, my dog was barking and my son was freaking out. I went into mom mode and took care of them and gathered some things,” Heather Haynes said.

The fire happened at Chemtool Inc. on Prairie Hill Road in Rockton. The company manufactures fluids, lubricants and grease products which are distributed worldwide. Approximately 70 employees were evacuated from the plant.

Businesses and homes nearby were also evacuated until Friday, with the Winnebago County Health Department clearing residents to return.

“There was quite a bit of debris littered throughout the yard. We shut all the windows before we left, so luckily nothing inside was affected,” Haynes said.

Not all residents had the same experience, unfortunately.

“I left the house and left all my windows open and my house is just horrible. I can’t be in there, it’s nasty,” Brent Loomis said.

Health officials have warned residents to throw away any food or water that may have been exposed to smoke.

Dr. Sandra Martell of the Winnebago County Health Department said groundwater and air quality will continue to be tested in the coming days.

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