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UPDATES FROM 9 AM, JUNE 15 PRESS CONFERENCE:
1. The one-mile evacuation order remains in effect until further notice. Anyone within a 3-mile radius is asked to wear a mask when outside. Roscoe Middle School, 6121 Elevator Rd., Roscoe, remains the official evacuation site. The Red Cross and Salvation Army are on site to help with immediate needs of evacuees. Winnebago County Health Department has set up a hotline for questions at 815-972-7300 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. An industrial cleanup crew from Louisiana has arrived on scene. This crew specializes in chemical fires, specifically oil refineries. Prior to intensive fire-fighting efforts like a foam blanket beginning, crews dug trenches to block residual materials from entering the Rock River. River booms have been placed to collect any materials that may inadvertently enter the river.
3. Life safety is the top priority. Air quality and ground water testing and modeling are ongoing. At this time, air quality results are testing acceptable at ground level. The models account for temperature and wind changes, and the results will continue to be monitored. The one-mile evacuation zone and 3 mile mask zone may change with these results. According to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, the State’s weapons of mass destruction unit that specializes in chemical modeling is assisting as well.
4. Emergency agencies continue to ask residents to turn off the AC, particularly window units, and keep windows closed.
5. Fire debris and waste should be raked up out of yards and contained separately from normal household waste. Do not touch it with bare hands – please use a shovel or gloves when handling.
6. Preliminary investigation into the fire has not yet begun as life safety and fire abatement remain the top priorities. No agencies are able to speculate on fire causes and / or the fire sprinkler status at this time.
Thank you for your patience as local, state and federal agencies work together to update the public as quickly as possible. Emergency responders and residents continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of fellow residents and businesses. Please head to the Jaimie Cox Foundation Facebook page for current ways and places to donate if so desired.
We are working with Illinois EPA to monitor the air at the Chemtool fire in Rockton, Illinois. Updates will be posted at https://response.epa.gov/chemtoolfire
CHEMTOOL UPDATE: Work continues on the fire at Chemtool in Rockton. Emergency crews, including a specialized industrial crew from Louisiana, are on-scene. This afternoon, there has been a significant reduction in smoke and fire from new fire suppression efforts.
Air and water quality monitoring continues in and around the area. To date, test results do not show any health risk other than the short-term irritation one would normally experience in the presence of smoke. However, until further testing is completed, the one-mile evacuation order remains in effect.
As residents outside of the evacuation area begin clean up, please do not touch ash or debris. Wear gloves and place in a separate container until further instructions are released. In addition, residents within a three-mile radius of the scene should wear face coverings or masks while outside as a precaution.
Lubrizol, the parent company of Chemtool, is working closely with government agencies to provide information, including releasing all product data information, and supporting the nearly 200 employees of the facility.
All parties involved are innocent, until proven guilty in a court of law. We can only provide information that IS provided to us. As you know, the local police encrypted and are not transparent. Some information may not be accurate. If there are any errors please let us know so we can try to possibly correct the errors. Several people have asked questions, and we have tried to answer as many as possible on our FAQ page. You can follow us on Twitter, Youtube, Facebook.