- At least 37 people were taken to hospital on Thursday after a chemical spill sent toxic plumes into the air.
- The injured included 11 firefighters and three police officers. In total, seven of the 37 injured were in critical, but stable condition.
- Authorities said the incident began early in the morning, after a tractor leaked containers of anhydrous ammonia onto the road.
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At least 37 people were taken to hospital early Thursday after a tractor towing containers of anhydrous ammonia leaked the chemical onto an Illinois road and sent toxic plumes into the air.
Among the injured were 11 firefighters and three police officers. In total, seven of the 37 injured people were in critical, but stable condition, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
The office said in a statement that officers first noticed “what appeared to be a cloud of smoke” in the air around 4:30 a.m.
“As the Sergeant and Deputy exited their squad cars, they were overcome with an airborne chemical,” the office said in a statement.
In a series of early-morning tweets, police warned residents in the area to “STAY INSIDE, with windows CLOSED!” Roughly five hours later, the sheriff’s office announced that the shelter-in-place request had been lifted and authorities would continue doing door-to-door checks.
Beach Park Incident: Law Enforcement and Fire Personnel are beginning a door-by-door check of residents in the immediate area, checking to ensure those closest to the scene are safe. #BeachParkIncident pic.twitter.com/NtT2FdJJqX
— Lake County Sheriff (@LakeCoILSheriff) April 25, 2019
Authorities pinpointed the affected area to a one-mile radius around the intersection of Green Bay Road and 29th Street in Beach Park, roughly 50 miles north of Chicago.
Anhydrous ammonia is a “colorless gas with pungent, suffocating fumes,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause breathing difficulty, wheezing, chest pain, irritation, burns, blisters, and even frostbite.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.