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Chemical Plant Ka-Boom in Chicagoland

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Deluge System Controls Fire

TWO EXPLOSIONS ROCKED A CHEMICAL plant in Alsip, Illinois, Friday morning, destroying one building and damaging another.  The ka-booms and resulting fire injured two people who have been taken to the hospital for burn treatments.

The incident began at 11:25 am Central and generated a response of about 40 fire companies, but the fire was easily extinguished in three hours by ten firefighters.  A deluge sprinkler system triggered immediately and knocked down the major fire, keeping it in check until the hose lines could get to it.  Initially they operated from a distance until any further explosion hazards were eliminated.

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WGN-TV

The elevated response was called in order to get a large amount of foam on the scene, but it was never utilized in the extinguishment.

The property is the Blue Island Phenol LLC which manufactures acetone and phenol, an ingredient used to manufacture certain herbicides, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.  The company has been cited by OSHA several times in the past including a serious violation notice this past February.

The chemicals involved in the explosion were propane, propylene and benzine according to the Alsip fire chief.  Apparently an explosive vapor in the building was ignitied, but it is not yet know what it was or how it became ignited.

This is still an active scene and no further information has been released yet.  For more details consult the Southtown Star: http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/24353784-522/explosion-reported-at-a-plant-in-alsip.html .

Also the Chicago Tribune:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-explosion-at-blue-island-chemical-plant-20131213,0,46779.story .

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