Residents of Rockton Await Decision on Chemtool Explosion Settlement

Rockford, Illinois – Three years have passed since a massive explosion at the Chemtool plant in Rockton forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes on June 14. The incident, which left behind devastating physical and environmental damages in a plume of smoke and flames visible for miles, has raised concerns among locals about potential long-term health impacts.

As the explosion sent harmful chemicals into the air, residents reported cases of skin irritation and eye problems, prompting worries about their well-being. The Winnebago County Health Department conducted a survey revealing that 11% of nearby residents experienced skin irritation, while 42% suffered from eye problems as a result of the blast.

In a significant development, Chemtool reached a settlement with nearby residents on May 23, 2024, amounting to over $94 million. A small team of attorneys representing the residents argued in court that the explosion was due to company negligence. Despite the settlement, some residents feel that the compensation may not be sufficient to cover the extensive damage caused by the explosion.

Efforts to obtain a statement from Chemtool’s parent company regarding the settlement were unsuccessful, as they declined to comment. Residents will have until August 14, 2024, to raise objections to the settlement, with Winnebago County Judge Stephen Balogh scheduled to make a decision on its approval on September 27.

The aftermath of the Chemtool plant explosion continues to impact the lives of Rockton residents, with concerns lingering about the environmental and health consequences of the incident. The long road to recovery and rebuilding the community remains a top priority for those affected by the tragedy, as they seek justice and accountability for the damages incurred.