18 exposed to chemical vapor at Elwood chemical plant - FOX 35 News Orlando

18 exposed to chemical vapor at Elwood chemical plant; no serious injuries

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

Fire and emergency crews were called to a chemical plant in Elwood, Ill. to respond to a hazardous materials incident Tuesday. Eighteen people were exposed to a chemical vapor.

No one appeared to be seriously injured in the incident at Stepan Chemical, 22500 Millsdale Rd., according to Harold Damron, director of the Will County Emergency Management Agency.

Workers were decontaminated to remove therminol, a heat transfer liquid used at the chemical plant, Damron said. Sixteen employees who were exposed declined treatment and two opted to go to a local hospital as a precaution. No one had to be evacuated, authorities said.

A release valve at the plant opened for some unknown reason, but the leak has stopped, Damron said.

The HazMat call was upgraded to second alarm at 9:49 a.m. "Multiple companies" of firefighters are on the scene, a spokesman for the Elwood Fire District said.

Will County Sheriff's Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas said two of the workers were taken to a local hospital as a precaution. Sixteen people refused treatment.

Judy Kreiser, 68, who has lived down the street from the plant for 35 years, said she was outside and heard what sounded like one big blast followed by four short blasts.

"Right away I heard the sirens from the police and fire departments coming down here," Kreiser said.

Stepan Chemical, located along the Des Plaines River, just off Millsdale Road and northeast of Interstate 55, produces cleaning products, polymers and other specialty chemicals, according to the company's website.

FOX 32 News contributed to this report.

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