Jeremy Oster awoke the morning of June 14, 2021 as his wife told him to go outside. What greeted him was a startling sight he would not soon forget.
“There were pieces of black debris 5 inches long throughout my yard and I could see the burning Chemtool plant,” Oster recalled. “I thought at first we were under attack.”
On that morning, around 7 a.m., citizens and area fire department crews were alerted to a huge industrial fire at the Chemtool lubricant manufacturing plant at 1165 Prairie Hill Road in the Town of Rockton. A black pillar of smoke rose hundreds of feet into the air, which could be seen for miles.
About 40 fire departments in the area responded to the fire. The 70 employees of the plant were evacuated without any injuries. Residents within a one-mile radius of the plant were told to evacuate. Nearby businesses also were told to evacuate.