Explosion Levels Treatment Plant in Kankakee

The blast could be felt up to two miles away

By Tania Pacheco
|  Monday, Dec 27, 2010  |  Updated 5:00 PM CDT
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Explosion Levels Treatment Plant in Kankakee

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Emergency crews were called to an explosion at the Kankakee River Metropolitan Agency treatment facility at 8:48 a.m.

Kankakee Fire Chief Ron Young says the incident is under investigation. Young suggested that methane gas used to run the plant may have built up and caused the explosion.

Local Lloyd Gadbois lives up the road from the plant says that he felt the shock as he sat at his computer early this morning.

"Suddenly, the whole house seemed to jump up in the air for a split second and I thought, well, I had a water heater explode in the basement.” His wife notified him of the gray, dusty cloud coming from the plant.

The blast has given way to one and a half million gallons of sludge flowing toward the Kankakee River. Firefighters and Hazardous Material teams have been working to plug the leak and keep the flow out of the river. Young said of the funneling mire, “we’ve been able to divert it to another area.” An 8 million-gallon reservoir tank is being used in the process.

No one was injured in the explosion and all 13 employees have been accounted for. There were reports of debris in the surrounding area but no reports of any households experiencing any problems caused by the incident.

Young says the cause of the accident is under investigation.

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