Watch CBS News

Massive fire at Illinois chemical plant contained, no injuries reported

Massive fire erupts at Illinois chemical plant
Massive fire erupts at Illinois chemical plant 00:15

A fire that started at an Illinois chemical plant and sent massive smoke plumes over the city of La Salle has been contained, the city said in a statement.

At around 8 a.m. Wednesday, fire officials responded to a "well-involved" structural fire at Carus Chemical, La Salle fire chief Jerry Janick confirmed. The company said that the fire began in the plant's shipping area, CBS Chicago reported.

Hours later, fire officials were able to contain the fire but additional equipment was being sent to the scene to help fully extinguish the blaze and assist with the investigation, officials said. 

Carus chemical plant fire in LaSalle
Firefighters respond to an extra-alarm fire at the Carus chemical plant in LaSalle, Illinois, on Jan. 11, 2023. CBS

There were no reported injuries and all employees were accounted for, Janick said. Officials have not identified the cause of the fire and said investigations were ongoing. 

Footage of the fire showed flames engulfing part of the plant with large plumes of smoke billowing into the sky. 

La Salle residents in the 3rd and 4th wards remained under a "shelter in place" order as of Wednesday afternoon, officials said. La Salle police said that a green-colored oxidizer had been released in the area and warned residents not to touch the substance.

According to the company's website, Carus is a family-owned chemical manufacturer founded in 1915. It produces potassium permanganate — an oxidant used to treat drinking water, wastewater and industrial chemicals — along with phosphates, polymers and other chemicals, according to the website.

Sierra Club senior toxics policy advisor weighs in on LaSalle chemical fire 06:37

After the fire was contained, Allen Gibbs, Carus vice president of operations, thanked fire officials for helping keep employees and others in the area safe. 

"We are thankful everyone is safe, and we are also grateful to the LaSalle Fire Department and crews from the surrounding area who responded to address this situation to keep the area safe." Gibbs said in a statement. "Carus' priority is to protect the health and safety of the employees, emergency personnel who are responding to this fire and the nearby community."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.