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Industrial Safety

Chemical Safety Board sends 2 staff to Chemtool plant after fire

by Jyllian Kemsley
June 26, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 24


Photo of a blocked-off road and a fire truck, with smoke billowing in the background.
Credit: Andy Manis/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom
All 70 workers that were in the Chemtool plant in Rockton, Illinois, evacuated safely after it caught fire June 14.

The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has sent two senior staff members to Rockton, Illinois, after a June 14 fire destroyed a Chemtool manufacturing plant. No workers were injured in the incident. Chemtool, a subsidiary of Lubrizol, makes greases and industrial fluids such as cleaners and lubricants. CSB acting managing director David LaCerte and Stephen Klejst, executive director for investigations and recommendations, traveled to “engage with Federal, State and local emergency responders, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and others” and “gather information from the incident site and make a recommendation on how best to proceed,” the CSB says in a statement. Neither official has chemical manufacturing experience: LaCerte is an attorney who worked with the US Office of Personnel Management and Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, and Klejst is a safety professional who came to the CSB from the US National Transportation Safety Board and the railroad industry. Investigators from other federal agencies have determined that the incident was not caused by suspicious or criminal activity, the CSB statement says.


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