At least 1,000 Rockton residents displaced following Chemtool fire

A massive fire continues to burn at a chemical plant just across the Illinois border in the...
A massive fire continues to burn at a chemical plant just across the Illinois border in the city of Rockton. The fire, which has consumed the entire Chemtool facility, forced the evacuation of scores of people.(Jeremy Nichols)
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 12:25 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Rockton residents within a 1.5 mile radius of the chemical plant fire remain displaced Monday night as the flames continued to burn.

Thick clouds of smoke billowed into the sky for hours.

“It was horrible then I heard explosions pop pop pop,” Sharen Chemello, Rockton resident said. “I went to the living room looked at my window and I said ‘Oh my god.’”

She caught a glimpse of the flames first-hand this morning. She lives a block away from the Chemtool facility.

Chemello and at least 1,000 other Rockton residents were evacuated early Monday morning.

“It’s scary. I’ve only been here a year. I just moved here,” she sad.

Roscoe Middle School was a designated evacuation site about 10 minutes from the plant.

“Clients have really talked to us about that call they got telling them they need to leave and evacuate and they were a little afraid,” Leslie Luther, Red Cross Northwest Illinois chapter executive director said.

The Red Cross set up shop in the school providing food, water and comfort to those displaced.

“We have that cycle: prepare, respond and recover. That’s what we’ve been doing,” she said.

Fire officials said it could take several days before the fire is fully contained giving Chemello no clear date of when she can come back home.

“I want to go back home. I’m comfortable. I like it there,” she said.

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