Explosion at Illinois chemical plant accidentally started during repair work

Illinois

ROCKTON, Ill. (AP) — Officials say a fire that heavily damaged a chemical plant in northern Illinois and forced the evacuation of nearby homes and businesses was accidentally started.

Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson announced Friday that the June 13 fire at the Chemtool plant started as contractors were replacing insulation on an elevated heat transfer piping network.

Wilson said the most credible scenario is a scissor lift struck a valve or other piece of piping with sufficient mechanical force to cause the release of mineral oil.

It isn’t known what ignited the oil. Wilson wasn’t available to answer questions about his conclusion.

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