Chemtool Fire - 06/17/2021 @ 6:00 PM

1. Fire Chief Wilson reports that fire suppression continues and progresses positively. He cautioned residents that smoke will linger for the next few days. Thermal imaging is being used to identify the hot spots. He added that the investigation is still preliminary, no causes have yet been identified, and fire personnel remain focused on fire suppression. 

2. Dr. Martell reports that air quality levels remain stable. Debris sample testing has been expedited. Of the debris results that have been returned, she is cautiously optimistic about the debris composition. The one-mile evacuation zone remains in effect until debris results are confirmed. She stated the Rock River is closed from just north of the Chemtool site through approximately one mile south.

3. Fire suppression foam: there was a breach of foam into the Rock River, believed to come from foam not used in suppression efforts. The mitigation response quickly trapped the foam by using river booms, and it was vacuumed into HAZMAT fracking containers on site. The foam is being tested to verify which foam was breached. The specialized fire suppression team initially began using fluorinated foam but was ordered by Chief Wilson after a strong recommendation by IEPA to switch to non-fluorinated foam. 

4. Craig Thomas, U.S. EPA’s on-site coordinator, reports that air quality remains stable. There have been periodic spikes when there are fire flare ups, and he encourages the public to continue to visit the U.S. EPA’s response website with test results. 

5. Police personnel will monitor the one-mile evacuation zone for safety. No Old Settlers Day festival parking is allowed within the evacuation zone. 

6. Chief Wilson addressed the one mile evacuation zone map confusion, adding he ordered the revised map to be released because of the confusion concerning the center point of the one-mile radius zone. He clarified that the fire is the central point, not the entire parcel. 

Although not discussed at the press conference, the Red Cross has placed the remaining three evacuees, and the evacuation center is closed. The Red Cross will assist anyone needing shelter through the end of evacuation order. The Red Cross remains on standby to assist evacuees through the Red Cross hotline.