Dixmoor Residents Return After Hazmat Fire

A fire in a chemical plant storage tank sent sulfur dioxide fumes into the air

By Lauren Jiggetts
|  Friday, Sep 23, 2011  |  Updated 7:43 AM CDT
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Dixmoor Residents Return After Hazmat Fire

NBCChicago.com

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Residents in south suburban Dixmoor woke up Friday back at home after a chemical fire forced them out of the area.

A fire in a chemical plant storage tank sent sulfur dioxide fumes into the air around 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Sulfur in the outdoor tank caught fire at the Rhodia plant, and the fumes were so bad that around 6 p.m., the fire department ordered some residents to leave their homes. Breathing in sulfur dioxide can cause respiratory problems.

The plant, which makes soaps, detergents and shampoos, employs about 45 people, though the plant was closed for maintenance when the fire started. 

A nearby mobile home park and another business were evacuated as a precaution. The fire department said those toxic vapors are gone, and neighbors were allowed back into their homes.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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