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Chicago plant explosion: Two workers sustain burns, plant blast in local Alsip

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A Chicago plant explosion that happened in local Alsip, Ill, this Friday afternoon has left two plant workers with serious burns. The blast led to a major fire at Blue Island Phenol, and though a cause of the sudden detonation is not known yet, the situation is currently being looked into as part of an official police investigation, CBS News shares this Friday, Dec. 13, 2013.

The Chicago plant explosion could be seen from miles away with a massive plume of dark smoke pouring into the sky. Firefighters could be seen via on-scene photos attempting to put out the fire by using water-pressure hoses inside the facility following the detonation. Locals near the Chicago-area plant have not yet been formally evacuated, and classes in nearby schools still had session late this afternoon.

Two burn victims have been confirmed to have been injured in the fire, though the nature and severity of the wounds have not been specified. Both people are thought to have been workers at the Alsip plant at the time of the blast, and are currently receiving emergency medical treatment at a local hospital in Blue Island.

The primary function of the plant is the manufacturing of phenol and acetone, ingredients most commonly used to create cosmetics, key pharmaceuticals, and modern herbicides. Another dangerous fire also occurred at this same plant back in 2008.

“Under the agreement [that came as a result of the past incident], the company agreed to hire a licensed engineering firm to analyze the cause of the accident and make needed repairs before it could resume production. The company also was required to assess soil and groundwater contamination caused by the runoff of water used to extinguish the fire.”

The cause of the explosion is still being examined, though early reports point to the idea that the recent fire came about following a storm that led to a brief power outage at the local Alsip refinery.

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