Updates regarding Carus Chemical fire
Carus Chemical Hotline: 815-224-6662 (Carus Chemical is assisting residents with stains or questions regarding the material)
EPA Air Quality Report: response.epa.gov/lasallechemicalfire
Thursday Press Conference: fb.com/cityoflasalle/videos/1145616289433703
Press release from Friday evening, Carus Site transitions to long-term cleanup plan
Local, state and federal agencies announce Carus, LLC chemical fire site in La Salle, Illinois moves to long-term cleanup
Federal and state Environmental Protection Agencies will oversee the cleanup by Carus
Brent Bader, City of La Salle, email@example.com
Rachel Bassler, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Linduska.firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Biggs, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, email@example.com
La Salle, Illinois (January 13, 2023) – The City of La Salle, La Salle County Emergency Management Agency, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) announced that the response to the chemical fire at the Carus, LLC facility in La Salle, Illinois, has entered a long-term cleanup phase now that the fire is out. The company will conduct the cleanup under U.S. EPA and IEPA oversight.
Residents are advised to use water when cleaning residue off their property or call the hotline established by Carus at 815-224-6662 for assistance.
U.S. EPA air monitoring has ended and data show no levels of concern. Carus will continue air monitoring during cleanup. IEPA and Illinois Department of Natural Resources conducted water sampling and visual inspections of the Little Vermilion River finding no detections of chemicals of concern. Additional samples collected by Illinois EPA at the site and in the community are being analyzed and will be made available. Local, state and federal agencies and the facility have established a multi-agency coordination group to continue to provide updates and coordination on the cleanup.
The La Salle County Health Department encourages anyone with concerns about their health to contact their doctor. For questions about pets, contact your local veterinarian. Questions specific to livestock can be directed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture at 217-782-4944.
For more information, please visit the City of La Salle’s website, which includes links to air monitoring data.
Press conference summary from Thursday
Carus Chemical again issued support to residents on Thursday following the Wednesday fire by notifying residents they will assist if residents are unable to remove stains through water alone.
City officials as well as representatives from United States Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, La Salle County Health Department, La Salle County Emergency Management Agency, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Carus Chemical gathered at the Grove Center around 2 p.m. Thursday to further update the public regarding the Carus Chemical fire.
Carus Chemical Vice President of Operations Allen Gibbs said any dust is the biproduct of potassium permanganate which can be washed away with water. It can leave stains which can be more difficult and residents experiencing issues should call 815-224-6662. Prior phone numbers experienced technical difficulties. Gibbs reiterated the company has worked with local first responders and regulatory groups and is committed to rebuilding the plant. They are capturing runoff material on site and are setting up air monitoring equipment.
Robert Kondreck of the United States Environmental Protection Agency updated the public that their air monitoring since arriving 24 hours ago showed it remain below any actionable levels. He added through conversations with the Illinois EPA and Illinois Department of Natural Resources, that the nearby Little Vermilion River remains in similar shape and that water monitoring would continue. For more information, visit response.epa.gov/lasallechemicalfire.
Fire Chief Jerry Janick turned the building back over to Carus Chemical and the State Fire Marshal report lists the cause as undetermined but that no suspicious activity was detected.
Director of Community Development Brent Bader explained that the shelter-in-place recommendation was issued out of an abundance of caution and the length of time it took to lift was the result of the City ensuring all the arriving organizations looking to assist were also in agreement.
Press members asked additional questions and the full press conference is viewable in full online by visiting fb.com/cityoflasalle/videos/1145616289433703.
Press conference summary from Wednesday
The shelter-in-place recommendation for 3rd and 4th wards residents of La Salle has been lifted as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.
City officials as well as representatives from Carus Chemical and the EPA gathered at City Hall shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday to update the public regarding the Carus Chemical fire.
Carus Chemical Vice President of Operations Allen Gibbs said the material released during the incident, potassium permanganate, is used as a drinking water material.
“It is in your drinking water as a normal product. If you come in contact with that material, it can cause staining on the skin. The material can be safely rinsed away with water.”
He further explained it can look slightly pink or green when it first comes in contact with water.
“The stain does not pose a health threat and you can remove the stain with a one-to-one solution of household vinegar and household hydrogen peroxide.”
Robert Kondreck of the United States Environmental Protection Agency was also on-site to say a few contractors are doing air monitoring and will continue their investigations.
At this time, he said any potential runoff from the firefighting appears to be contained on-site at this time. It does not appear to have run off into the Vermilion River, but the investigation will continue.
For more information, the EPA will operate a website at response.epa.gov/lasallechemicalfire. It will be live shortly.
The Illinois EPA and US Coast Guard have also assisted in the investigation.
The City of La Salle will hold another press conference at 2 p.m. Thursday with any updates.
Mayor Jeff Grove said he was thankful the fire led to no loss of life.
Fire Chief Jerry Janick noted one firefighter was injured but was treated and released.
Carus Chemical is operating a hotline for questions from the public at 815-224-6662.
12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11
A fire that started at Carus Chemical in La Salle, Illinois, is contained, according to Fire Chief Jerry Janick.
Janick spoke with members of the press shortly after noon on Wednesday to let them know that the fire is contained and that there were no reported injuries with all employees of the facility accounted for.
First responders arrived around 8 a.m. Wednesday for a report of a structure fire at the facility at 1500 8th Street. Responders arrived to a “well-involved” structure fire and initiated the MABAS alarms for additional help.
While the fire is contained, additional equipment is coming to the scene to assist in final extinguishment and investigation.
The City of La Salle still has a “shelter in place” order for residents in the 3rd and 4th wards that live to the north and west of the facility, which will be reassessed shortly.
A further press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 745 2nd Street, in the Council Chambers.
For more information, or to be included in a future press release, please email Director of Community Development Brent Bader at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10:13 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11
Attention residents: There was a fire at the Carus Chemical building. First responders are on the scene addressing the issue.
At this time, residents living nearby are asked to please shelter in place. We will update this place as well as our website and all call system if this guidance changes. We also ask everyone else to remain out of the area to allow first responders the room to work.
We will update this space with more information as we can.