Carus chemical explosion: Residents of La Salle, Ill., express concerns after massive fire spewed apparent chemicals into the air

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LA SALLE, Ill. (WLS) — There will be an update on Thursday afternoon after a massive fire broke out at the Carus Chemical plant in La Salle on Wednesday morning. Some neighbors have concerns.

The residential neighborhood around the plant appears to have been covered in chemicals.

Carus has created a hotline for La Salle residents at (815) 224-6662.

A shelter-in-place was ordered for several hours as a precaution, but has since been suspended.

La Salle is about 94 miles southwest of Chicago.

Authorities afternoon update on fire at La Salle chemical plant

Residents are free to go about their normal business on Thursday morning, heading to work, school or just going about their normal routines, while authorities work to figure out what happened.

Video of a fireball during the incident was widely shared on social media.

“I pull up at a stop sign and hear a loud explosion,” said witness Khaleef Hammad.

Chopper 7HD flies above chemical fire

Hammad was just a block away from the plant when he captured the moment it went up in flames.

“Oh, it was loud. There were several explosions. Not just one, there were a few,” he said.

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The chemical plant manufactures potassium permanganate, which is not combustible but can accelerate the burning of explosive material when it catches fire.

Residents shared photos of the substance coating their homes, yards, decks and cars.

“When I hit the windshield wipers, it looked black to me, then it turned green, and now it’s like a brown color. And it’s caustic. I know what it is; they know what it is,” said resident Jamie Hicks.

One bystander shared photos of what she said the substance did to her garden furniture. It appears to show that she had rusted through a hole in the furniture-which she said was from the fire.

As firefighters contained and extinguished the chemical fire, a Carus Chemical representative attempted to reassure residents.

Huge fire breaks out at LaSalle chemical plant

“Some of the material that was released during the incident is used as potable water,” said Carus Vice President Allen Gibbs. “If you come into contact with this material, it can cause blemishes on the skin. The stain does not pose a threat to health.

Authorities are warning residents to avoid green waste that has been seen in the area. The La Salle Police Department said an oxidizer, which appears green in color, was released. Police said not to touch the substance and that it can be deactivated.

“To disable it, you’ll need a 1:1:1 mixture of: 1 gallon of water, 1 gallon of peroxide, 1 gallon of vinegar,” police said.

One bystander shared photos of what she says the residual green substance from the La Salle chemical plant fire did to her garden furniture.

As environmental workers monitor the air and water for any possible contamination, the mayor of La Salle is grateful, acknowledging that it could have been worse.

“Thank God (it was a) situation where no one (was) killed or seriously injured … a miracle in itself,” said Mayor Jeff Grove.

RELATED: Morris Fire: Industrial Fire Prompts Evacuations of 1,000 Nearby Homes

A firefighter was slightly injured at the scene of the massive fire, which started around 9am at the factory, located at 1500 Eighth St.

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