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Lubrizol: Cause of fire at Chemtool facility still unknown

Lubrizol: Cause of fire at Chemtool facility still unknown
Photo courtesy of Chemtool

The cause of the fire at the Chemtool facility in Rockton, Illinois, U.S.A., on June 14 is still unknown, according to Chemtool parent Lubrizol Corporation. “We do not yet know what caused this incident, but we will be working with local authorities and with our own risk management team to determine what happened and identify any corrective actions. We will share more details as they are known,” the company said in a statement.

Chemtool Inc., one of the largest manufacturers and custom formulators of greases and functional fluids in the world, has operated on the site since 2008, according to Bill Snyder, vice president of operations at Lubrizol Additives, who held a press conference in Rockton on June 15. Lubrizol, a Berkshire Hathaway specialty chemical company headquartered in Wickliffe, Ohio, U.S.A., has owned Chemtool since 2012.

“We are heartbroken by what happened,” Snyder added, apologizing to the community for the incident. He added that 70 of the employees who were at the facility when the fire started are all safe. The facility employs around 200 people, he said. To view Snyder’s press conference, click here.

Chemtool’s Corporate Technology Center is supported by a large research and development team, including chemists, biologists, and technical specialists. The state-of-the-art production facilities house some of the largest grease reactors in the world. In addition to producing grease,  the Chemtool facility also manufactures functional fluid products.

At approximately 7 a.m. on June 14, local emergency personnel responded to a fire at the Chemtool facility. The Rockton Fire Department ordered a mandatory evacuation of all residents and businesses within a one-mile radius of the plant. On June 16, the fire department announced in a press conference that the fire had been contained.