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Rockton Residents Launch Debris Mapping Project Following Chemtool Fire

Debris Mapping Project
Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Debris Mapping Project QR Code

During the Rockton Village Board meeting this week, members of the Citizens for Chemtool Accountability Group unveiled a new debris tracking project and called for more answers and resources from elected officials. Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco has more:

Dan Enderle is an art teacher in the Rockton area, and he’s also part of the Citizens for Chemtool Accountability Group. Enderle is responsible for launching a debris mapping project which will source pictures from residents affected by the weeks-long fire and residual debris.

"We’ll be putting these on a map and people will be able to view the map interactively and see exactly where everything fell," said Enderle." And it will give a kind of historical record as well as determining how far the debris fell."

Elizabeth Lindquist, one of the co-founders the Chemtool Accountability group, says that the goal of project is to organize a geographical documentation of the range of the debris from the fire. The form can be found here.

During the board meeting, residents also voiced concerns about health and human safety and the lack of answers available to them. One young girl asked when she could safely plant vegetables in her garden.

Village Mayor John Peterson, said the board would try to get questions voiced to the appropriate agencies investigating the disaster.

The Citizens for Chemtool Accountability group will also host several more events this week including participating in an EPA virtual public listening session on the risk management Program rule on Thursday, a potluck on Friday at the Rockton Township Civic Center and a Saturday morning Zoom call with an organization called Rouen Respire — a group who organized after a fire at a Lubrizol owned location in France.

  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
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.