Illinois, federal agencies begin investigation into chemical fires

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OSHA has begun its investigation into the explosion and fire that injured two workers at a chemical plant in East St. Louis on Sunday, and the Illinois EPA plans to begin examining the site on Tuesday, reports agency officials said.

“OSHA will complete its investigation as soon as possible, but by law the agency has up to six months to complete it,” Scott Allen, an OSHA spokesman, said Monday. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is part of the US Department of Labor.

Allen said he couldn’t release any details until the investigation was complete.

An update on the status of two workers injured in Sunday night’s explosion and fire at Allnex USA Inc. on Missouri Avenue was not available. They were taken to hospital on Sunday evening.

Allnex, which merged with Nuplex in 2016, produces adhesives, sealants and specialty coatings. It is located in the 2900 block of Missouri Avenue.

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Two workers were injured at Allnex USA Inc. in a fire inside the East St. Louis chemical plant on Sunday night. The company produces adhesives, sealants and specialty coatings. It is located in the 2900 block of Missouri Avenue. Derik Holtman dholtmann@bnd.com

George McClellan, assistant chief of the East St. Louis Fire Department, said firefighters could see flames coming through the roof when they arrived at the building shortly after the fire was reported around 10 p.m.

Kim Biggs, spokeswoman for the Illinois EPA, said agency members were unable to access the site on Monday due to OSHA’s investigation, but will return on Tuesday. .

“All water from the fire was contained on site, so it does not appear that the sanitary sewers were impacted,” she said. “They have collected this water and it will be shipped offsite for proper disposal. “

She said the water will be tested for asbestos, contaminants and chemicals from the blast.

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Two workers were injured at Allnex USA Inc. in a fire inside the East St. Louis chemical plant on Sunday night. The company produces adhesives, sealants and specialty coatings. It is located in the 2900 block of Missouri Avenue. Debris from the fire is visible on the ground. Derik Holtman dholtmann@bnd.com

Firefighters knew the chemical in the tank that caught fire was a “water solvent,” McClellan said. They had to use large jets of water to put out the fire, he said.

Herb Simmons, director of the St. Clair County Emergency Management Department, confirmed he was able to get a drone from the sheriff’s department to fly over the chemical plant to survey the situation after the explosion.

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Two workers were injured at Allnex USA Inc. in a fire inside the East St. Louis chemical plant on Sunday night. The company produces adhesives, sealants and specialty coatings. It is located in the 2900 block of Missouri Avenue. Derik Holtman dholtmann@bnd.com

Carolyn P. Smith has worked for the Belleville News-Democrat since 2000 and currently covers breaking news in the Metro East. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism at Columbia and says news is in her DNA.
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