Explosion at Nova-Kem chemical processing plant forces evacuations
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A fire and subsequent explosion Sunday at the Nova-Kem chemical processing plant in Seward, Ill., forced authorities to evacuate residents within a 2-mile radius, pjstar.com reported.
According to WQRF FOX 39, the plant contained siliconetetrachloride, nitric acid, acetone and hexachlorodisilane, along with chlorine tanks located outside of the building. A malfunctioning valve caused a tank containing hexachlorodisilane to leak. During cleanup, a spark ignited the chemicals, the article stated.
Luckily, a safety mechanism caused the chlorine tanks to empty, preventing a more massive explosion.
Officials said most of the chemicals burned up in the fire and the chlorine spill was contained to a small area around the plant.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked the Illinois Attorney General to obtain a court order requiring Nova-Kem to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and halt all operations at the plant until corrective measures are put into place.