TUESDAY 6/15/2021 10:11 a.m.

(AP) – A northern Illinois chemical plant that was rocked by an explosion and massive fires that prompted evacuations was inspected by a federal agency less than a month before the blast sent debris raining down onto nearby areas.

WLS-TV reports that on May 20, inspectors from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration investigated a complaint at Chemtool Inc.

A summary record of that inspection does not explain what was being inspected at the plant. A company spokesperson said that Chemtool has been safely operating since 2008.

Fires continued burning Tuesday at the plant near the Wisconsin border, about 95 miles northwest of Chicago.

ORIGINAL: Illinois chemical plant explosion, fire prompt evacuations, products sold locally

MONDAY 6/14/2021 10:56 a.m.

ROCKTON, Ill. (AP) — Emergency crews are battling massive fires at a northern Illinois chemical plant that exploded into flames.

The Monday morning explosion that sent huge plumes of thick black smoke into the air prompted officials to order an evacuation of residents and business to the south of Chemtool Inc., near Rockton.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The plant manufactures grease products, lubricants and other fluids.

Halron Lubricatnts sells Chemtool’s products locally.

Rockton is located in Winnebago County, near the Wisconsin border, about 95 miles northwest of Chicago.