General Iron Scrap Metal Plant Ordered Closed by City After Multiple Explosions Reported Monday

Ald. Brian Hopkins reported an investigation is underway and that the scene was declared a Level One Hazmat situation by the fire department

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A scrap metal plant on Chicago's North Side has been ordered to close by the city after multiple explosions rocked the Ranch Triangle neighborhood on Monday morning.

The incident happened just after 9 a.m. at the General Iron plant in the Ranch Triangle neighborhood, Chicago police confirmed. No injuries were reported, but the facility was ordered to close by the city's Department of Buildings and the Chicago Fire Department.

Calling protecting the health and safety of residents a “top priority,” the city said that the facility will remain closed until an action plan is created and approved.

“The business will remain closed, with the exception of regular onsite maintenance, machinery repairs, and removal of finished materials from the site until a corrective action plan has been approved by the city and shared with the community,” the city’s Department of Buildings said in a statement.

General Iron said the explosion occurred "within the metal shredding process" at the metal recycling facility.

"There was no ensuing fire after the initial incident," the company said in a statement. "Shredding operations have ceased for the present time. We are thoroughly investigating all possible causes, including potential sabotage."

The Chicago Fire Department said cause of the explosion remained unclear as of Monday afternoon.

Ald. Brian Hopkins said that the company will be permitted to repair the damage to its buildings and equipment after the explosion.

“(They will) be afforded due process in their attempt to prove that they can operate in compliance if allowed to re-open,” he said in a statement.

Hopkins also reported a "sudden increase in pollution readings detected in [the] surrounding residential neighborhood" shortly after the blast, but the Chicago Fire Department said air quality tests show "no apparent immediate health risk to residents and the surrounding community."

The department said there was no indication pollution levels in the neighborhood increased as a result of the explosion.

"The Chicago Department of Public Health is on-site to conduct further testing and evaluation, and the Fire Department is investigating the incident," CFD's statement read. "Should any environmental violation be determined, the city will issue citations immediately."

Hopkins reported witnesses saw a "fireball" and a "mushroom cloud of smoke" at the scene. He called for the "permanent and immediate closure of this hazardous facility."

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