On Wednesday morning at 9am, a blast occurred at the Carus Chemical facility located in LaSalle, Illinois, which is situated around 100 miles southwest of Chicago and has a population of fewer than 10,000. The plant employees all safely evacuated the premise without any injuries, as stated by a representative of Carus LLC, a family-run business that operates the plant. Footage shared on various social media platforms depicted thick black clouds of smoke rising from the site, and multiple structures within the compound were either entirely destroyed or suffered damage.
Police Chief Mike Smudzinski said: ‘Hats off to the fire department because I think a good portion of this blaze was knocked down within a good hour.’ Deputy City Clerk Brent Bader told WLS that the fire department did ‘a great job of bringing this down’. ‘Obviously, when they arrived on scene it was quite a worse situation,’ Bader said. Residents residing north and west of the plant were advised to remain indoors as a precautionary measure. According to the News Tribune, this order remained in effect until 12:30pm.
At 1:15 pm, the incident was reported to be under control but it was still burning, as informed by the authorities. The police department informed the public that a green-colored oxidizer has leaked in the area and warned against touching it. Carus, the company running the plant, produces oxidizer which is utilized in treating drinking water and waste water. It is also applied to phosphates to inhibit corrosion and carbon capture products to purify air, as per the information on their official website. Police advised that if residents come across the substance in their homes, they can neutralize it by mixing 1:1:1 ratio of peroxide, vinegar and water.