CHICAGO (CBS) — One employee was injured in an explosion caused by an ammonia leak Friday morning at a food supplier facility in northwest suburban Elk Grove Village, and a hazmat crew member was hospitalized for exhaustion.
The explosion was reported shortly after 7 a.m. at Grecian Delights, at 1201 Tonne Rd. Elk Grove Fire Department officials said crews were working to contain an ammonia leak after the explosion.
Fire officials said the explosion also caused a water main break at the facility, sending water flooding into the parking lot.
Elk Grove Fire Chief Richard Mikel said ammonia began to leak inside the plant early Friday, and came into contact with a source of ignition, triggering an explosion which blew off part of the building’s façade. About 100 people were working in the plant at the time, and were evacuated to another company building a few blocks away.
“It was tremendous work by the supervisory staff here to get their people out, accumulate them in a gathering point, and take a head count. So we’ve had several of the supervisors inform us they’re all accounted for,” Mikel said.
Four neighboring businesses also were evacuated, affecting about 125 people.
A woman who lives nearby said her whole house shook as a result of the explosion. She said it felt like an earthquake.
One woman was burned in the explosion, and was taken to Alexian Brothers Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Mikel said. A hazmat technician also was taken to Alexian Brothers, after suffering exhaustion.
Hazardous materials teams stopped the leak around 10 a.m., but Mikel said it could take a several more hours to vent the ammonia vapors in the building and get rid of the liquid ammonia.
Mikel said the blast caused extensive damage inside the building, but building inspectors would not be able to assess the damage until the ammonia is vented.
Crews were directing the ammonia vapors away from nearby homes. Officials said the ammonia likely was used in the building’s refrigeration system.