Illinois EPA calls for legal action against companies at Morris Battery Fire center – NBC Chicago
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it had referred enforcement action to the Illinois attorney general’s office against Superior Battery Inc., the site of a lithium battery fire in Morris, which the office said. EPA, violated the Illinois Environmental Protection and Illinois Pollution Control Act. Council regulations.
The Illinois EPA alleges that Superior Battery Inc., 919 E. Benton St., “caused, threatened or authorized the release of contaminants to air and water, and disposed of or abandoned waste at an unregulated facility” .
“Additional violations may be added” as more information is gathered about the company’s management of batteries, the Illinois EPA said.
The referral, which calls on the attorney general to take legal action, said the fire produced “smoke containing potentially dangerous substances” and forced the evacuation of around 1,000 homes.
The referral also requests that the Attorney General require Superior Battery Inc. to hire a consultant to determine the cause of the fire, contain any runoff and prevent water discharges off-site, and provide a detailed inventory of site materials. , among other elements.
Nearly 100 tons of lithium batteries were involved in the large Morris industrial fire on Tuesday which led to emergency evacuations and a large-scale response as authorities warned of “very toxic” fumes and “very fatal”.
Firefighters said the blaze was still smoldering on Wednesday, but progress has been made and authorities are looking to implement new strategies to put out the blaze.
Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffas said the blaze escalated overnight Tuesday through Wednesday, but crews were on site throughout.
“The on-site companies monitored and ensured that the fire did not jump off the property and affect any exposure in residential areas,” Steffas said.
Unable to use their usual fire hoses, the firefighters used unique techniques to extinguish the blaze. Firefighters will continue to use what’s called “high-flow water” to help cool the batteries, and then plan to smother it with cement.
Video from NBC’s Sky 5 helicopter shows a large industrial fire in Morris, triggering evacuations in part of the southwestern suburbs of Chicago.
“We’re going to cover it with cement and smother this fire,” Steffas said. “Once we put the cement in, we hope it will suffocate it. “
High-flow water use has led to questions about water runoff, but the Illinois EPA said it has put monitors on duty around Morris to ensure the supply water remains safe and that the runoff does not go to the nearby Illinois River.
Similar devices were recently used around a chemical plant fire that broke out in Rockton earlier this month and led to several days of evacuations around the site of the blaze.
Meanwhile, residents have been able to return home and collect things from their homes, but evacuation orders remain in place.
Morris Mayor Chris Brown said officials were unaware the building contained highly flammable lithium-ion batteries and said a disaster proclamation was issued on Wednesday to release funds to resolve the issues. issues surrounding the fire.