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Rockton Evacuation Order Lifted

Plume of Smoke Over ChemTool Incorporated in Rockton.

Officials are lifting the one-mile evacuation order around the ChemTool Facility site, as fire suppression operations continue.

Local law enforcement and Illinois State Police will be facilitating the reentry of residents within the evacuation zone. Sampling by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency confirmed the absence of any compounds or chemicals of concern.

During a press briefing on Friday morning, Dr. Sandra Martell, from the Winnebago County Health Department, said that preliminary data supports the decision to allow residents to return home.

“So we are going to continue the air, land and water monitoring throughout this whole scenario,” said Martell. ”You're going to see our devices out there in the community, they're going to be moving them around as they should be.”

Meanwhile, according to Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says that the cause of the ChemTool fire does not appear suspect or criminal in nature.

The investigation into the source of the fire is still ongoing.

Residents seeking reimbursement related to evacuation costs must fill a claim with Lubrizol before October 31st of this year. The claim form can be found on the Winnebago County Health Department’s website.

Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.