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State Declares Disaster For Morris After Battery Fire

MORRIS, Ill. (CBS) -- Gov. JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for Grundy County in response to an industrial fire in Morris.

A disaster proclamation grants the State of Illinois the ability to expedite the use of state resources, personnel or equipment and allows the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) to procure additional resources to help the county respond to the disaster.

On Friday, officials in Morris said enough progress had been made in battling an industrial fire to allow thousands of residents who were evacuated three days earlier to return home.

Fire Chief Tracey Steffes says there is no active burning at the building that contained 100 tons of batteries.

The burning batteries were smothered with 28 tons of cement.

Firefighters resorted to the unconventional and possibly unprecedented tactic because using water or firefighting foam could have caused the batteries to explode.

He says firefighters are closely monitoring the fire because there remains a chance the batteries could start burning again.

On Thursday, the Illinois EPA asked the Illinois Attorney General to take legal action against the owner behind the lithium battery fire in Morris.

People living in parts of Morris had to evacuate Tuesday because of the industrial fire involving lithium ion batteries, and the evacuation was deemed mandatory for 24 hours.

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