Not long after a massive blast was picked up by security cameras earlier this month calls began to flood into the Waukegan 911 center.
"There was a huge, loud bang that rocked a number of our houses, I was wondering if anyone had reported it," a caller said, according to tapes released Tuesday.
"OK, we’ve got," the dispatcher responds. "There is something going on. We are still trying to figure it out. But you are OK."
The explosion could be felt as far away as Zion and Wauconda and many callers were frightened. A dispatcher asked one caller if she saw anything.
"No, no. I don’t even want to look outside," the caller replied. "I’m scared. I am in the bathroom with the baby."
"Did your windows break or anything like that," the dispatcher asked.
"No, but I heard a big boom and the house shook," the woman replies.
Some had a more details of the chaos than others.
"It is east of our subdivision, over by the golf course, a big mushroom cloud," a caller said. "It must be on Southern Hills."
"This thing is actively exploding and on fire," a voice in the background can be heard saying.
"OK, I think our officer just located it," the dispatcher said. "Um. We are going to check out the area. Just stay inside, sir."
The May 3 explosion killed four people and caused more than $1 million in damage. It also pushed first responders and the people who had to handle all the 911 calls.
"Waukegan 911, are you calling about the explosion," a dispatcher began asking after apparently being inundated with calls.
Indeed, the caller was calling about the silicone plant that had blown up, and the dispatcher calmly let them know authorities were on the way.
Another clip shows just how chaotic the evening was before the extent of the damage was known.
"This is 911, and the phone is ringing off the hook," a dispatcher said. "We don’t know, we don’t know what happened. We’re coming into the area. I have to go."