No one was hurt in a fire at a chemical plant in Illinois.

LA SALLE, Illinois (AP) — A major fire that sent plumes of smoke rising from a chemical plant in northern Illinois has been contained and no casualties have been reported, officials said.

After a fire broke out at the Carus Chemical in La Salle on Wednesday morning, local authorities sent out an emergency alert advising people living in the city’s third and fourth districts to take shelter in place. This order was canceled at 17:00.

Carus Chemical workers have been evacuated from the plant and all have been held accountable, La Salle police chief Mike Smudzinski said.

According to the News-Tribune, explosions were heard around 9 a.m., after which smoke was visible from the plant.

La Salle fire chief Jerry Janick said he could not confirm any explosions. It is not yet known what caused the fire, he said.

A Carus spokesman said in a statement that the fire started in the factory’s shipping area.

“We are grateful that everyone is safe, and we are also grateful to the La Salle fire department and the teams from the surrounding area who responded to this situation to keep the area safe,” said Allen Gibbs, the company’s vice president of operations. “Carus’ priority is to protect the health and safety of employees, emergency personnel responding to this fire, and the nearby community.”

According to the company’s website, Carus Chemical manufactures potassium permanganate, an oxidizing agent used to treat drinking water, wastewater, industrial chemicals, and many other uses.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Gibbs said the oxidizer released during the fire could cause staining, but it could be cleaned up with household vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. According to him, the company has set up a hotline to answer residents’ questions.

“It’s a good chemical that purifies drinking water,” Gibbs said. “When he is in the form he is in, he can create a problem. It oxidizes and turns to dust.”

Robert Kondreck, local coordinator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, said the team began monitoring air in the area downwind of the station on Wednesday afternoon. Kondrek said officials from the US Coast Guard and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency also visited the site and believe that runoff from firefighting did not enter the nearby Vermilion River.

When firefighters responded Wednesday morning, the blaze sent dramatic plumes of smoke into the sky. Aerial photographs of the site show the collapsed structure, burnt columns, trucks, and other debris.

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

Top photo: Firefighters extinguish a fire at a chemical plant in LaSalle, Illinois on Wednesday, January 11, 2023. After a fire broke out at the Carus Chemical plant in La Salle on Wednesday morning, local authorities sent out an emergency warning to residents of the city. the third and fourth chambers for shelter in place. (ABC 7 Chicago via AP)

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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