Statement From ABG Regarding Explosion in Rockton, Illinois

Rockton, Ill., Chemtool Explosion Looming Over ABG

Thursday, June 17th, 2021

Earlier this week a chemical plant in neighboring Rockton, Ill., exploded into an inferno that registered on satellites in space, prompting immediate action by all in the surrounding region.  ABG Bag, Inc. had to close our plant and send employees home because of the looming toxic cloud of smoke and debris over our building caused by the explosion at the Chemtool plant, located 9 miles directly south of us in northern Illinois.  It also prompted immediate thoughts:

  • Kudos to Chemtool for performing safety fire drills which saved their employees lives.
  • Enormous praise to first responders—upwards of 45 different agencies from Illinois and southern Wisconsin—who, yet again, ran toward the danger in order to protect the rest of us; it’s remarkable that early reports reflect no fatalities and only minor injuries to a couple of firefighters.

  • Absolute admiration and thanks to the environmental teams who rushed to the scene and made the crucial decision to cease water operations that would produce contaminated runoff—including into the nearby Rock River just 300 meters to the west—and instead have opted to let the fire burn off naturally.

  • Sincere thoughts and compassion for our neighbors inconvenienced by having to temporarily relocate from their homes that fall within a mile radius of the explosion.

  • Utmost appreciation for the Salvation Army, which has responded to provide support to an estimated 150-175 first responders on the scene by setting up a “field kitchen” to provide meals, snacks and hydration to first responders.

Managing this disaster, sound decisions were made to protect the environment—which is appreciated by ABG—as protecting the environment is why we exist.  We wish first responders and our northern Illinois neighbors a safe and timely return to resuming life as we knew it prior to Monday’s explosion. 
Will Bennett
ABG Bag, Inc.


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