CHICAGO (CBS)– An industrial fire involving lithium ion batteries in Morris, Illinois continues to burn Wednesday. Emergency crews are entering their second day of battling the smoke and flames.

Officials are asking residents to stay away from the area Wednesday as the fire continues to burn. People living in parts of Morris had to evacuate Tuesday.

Officials said around 3 a.m. Wednesday, the intensity of the fire increased for around two hours.

Lithium explodes when it comes into contact with water, so fire crews need to smother the flames and are working to safely clear the scene.

Fire officials said due to heat and humidity, smoke was hanging lower and close to homes in the area. They said the rain Tuesday night helped to clear some of the low-hanging smoke.

At 11:42 a.m. Tuesday, the Morris Fire Department was called to the 900 block of East Benton Street for a fire at the old Federal Paper Board building, which was being used to store a large quantity of lithium batteries.

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The company now at the building called Superior Battery and there were about 80 to 100 tons of batteries on the premises. Officials said Wednesday, they are working to learn more about the company. Even though the company had been in the building for about a year, city officials said they don’t know much else about the company.

Officials added, they could not find a business license from the company in their records.

According to authorities, the evacuation was prompted by lithium batteries catching fire, which produces smoke with dangerous particulates.

Because of the health risk, officials have evacuated the southeast side of Morris – from Washington Street as far east as Evergreen Cemetery (Cemetery Road) to the east to Route 47 to the west, and from the railroad tracks on the north to the river on the south.

Anyone who sees or smells smoke should self-evacuate and report where they detected the smoke. Residents wanting to make such a report or ask questions should call (815) 941-3408.

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About 130 total fire personnel were on the scene and about 30 fire units.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff