Firefighters battling blaze at LaSalle chemical plant

Residents were told to shelter in place as firefighters responded to a fire that sent smoke plumes towering over the plant and prompted the plant’s evacuation.

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Residents near a northern Illinois chemical plant were told to shelter in place Wednesday as firefighters responded to a fire that sent smoke plumes towering over the plant and prompted the plant’s evacuation.

After the fire began Wednesday morning at Carus Chemical in La Salle, local officials sent an emergency alert advising people who live in the city’s third and fourth wards to shelter in place.

La Salle Fire Chief Jerry Janick said the public should avoid the area and allow firefighters to work on dousing the fire.

Carus Chemical workers were evacuated from the plant and all them have been accounted for, said La Salle Police Chief Mike Smudzinski. He told the News-Tribune there are no known injuries from the fire.

There were reports of explosions being heard at about 9 a.m. followed by smoke that was visible from the plant, the newspaper reported.

Kim Biggs, a spokesperson for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, said the agency is still gathering information and will respond to the site.

Live video feeds around 11 a.m. showed multiple fire engines parked near the plant, aiming hoses toward the building. Gray and white smoke is still visible and some flames on trucks parked near the structure can be seen from the footage.

La Salle is located about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southwest of Chicago.

Carus Chemical produces potassium permanganate, an oxidant used to treat drinking water, wastewater, industrial process chemicals and for numerous other applications, according to the company’s website.

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