Authorities are investigating the cause of a weekend blaze that destroyed a Euclid Chemical manufacturing plant in rural central Illinois.
The fire is under investigation by local, state and federal fire and environmental officials, who retained control of the site Monday (Oct. 12). The company will also investigate, said president Moorman L. Scott Jr.
“We take seriously our responsibilities as a corporate citizen and a good local neighbor,” Scott said. “We are working closely and cooperating with local, state and federal officials and the community to take appropriate and effective remedial actions.”
The Cleveland-based company said it had established an on-site senior management team to assess the situation and that it was working with authorities to communicate with local communities and investigate the cause of the fire, which destroyed the facility in Sheffield, IL.
The blaze broke out while the plant was closed, and none of the 15 employees were on site. Several firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
‘Emergency Response Mode’
No cause of the fire was immediately apparent, and there was no evidence of arson, said company spokesman Joshua E. Robbins. Local authorities were unavailable Monday, because of the Columbus Day holiday.
The site was still “in emergency response mode” Monday and under the control of fire authorities. The company will begin its probe when the site is released, Robbins said.
The fire was reported at 5:45 a.m. CDT Oct. 9 at the plant, located on Route 40 in Sheffield, IL, just off Interstate 80.
Some witnesses reported hearing explosions early Saturday, and smoke billowed from the plant for hours, the Peoria Journal Star reported. Authorities closed area roads, and residents miles away were told to stay inside, the newspaper said.
The blaze burned uncontrolled all day Saturday, and the plant—two structures totaling 38,000 square feet—is a total loss.
The area is very rural, Robbins said, with only a grain elevator across the road and the town of Sheffield (population 946) about two miles to the west. The remote location presented “natural challenges dealing with the fire and bringing in crews from all around,” Robbins said.
Euclid has operated the plant since 2006. Robbins was unable to say what the plant produced.
Euclid Chemical, wholly owned by RPM Inc., is a global supplier of specialty products and technical support services for the concrete and masonry construction industry. Its products include industrial coatings, curing and sealing compounds, structural grouts and adhesives. Brands include Euco, Eucon, Tamms, Dural, Baracade, Hey’Di, Increte and Speed Crete.