LINCOLN PARK — An investigation is underway after a fire at the General Iron scrap yard in Lincoln Park caused loud explosions and threw large plumes of dark smoke into the air Sunday morning, and two aldermen are calling for the closure of the facility.
According to a statement from Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), the fire department responded to a "powerful explosion and extra alarm fire" at 8:45 a.m. Sunday at General Iron Industries in the 1900 block of North Clifton.
"Fire officials immediately declared a Level 1 hazmat situation after detecting the presence of toxic and corrosive chemicals," Hopkins wrote. Level 1 is the lowest level for a hazardous materials situation.
As firefighters battled the blaze, which did not cause any injuries, Hopkins advised residents to steer clear of the area, noting he was "on site" and would provide updates on his Twitter account.
North Siders reported hearing explosions and seeing dark smoke drift across the neighborhoods. North/northeast winds pushed the haze and an unpleasant smell up Clybourn Avenue.
Hopkins said in a statement, "This site lacks a sufficient drainage system, so thousands of gallons of water that was used to douse a 70 ft. high pile of combustible material is draining into the North Branch of the Chicago River, carrying with it a plume of contaminates of an unknown nature. I have contacted officials from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to arrange for testing of water samples."
General Iron was the site of another major explosion last July, according to Hopkins. Though the investigation will take time, Hopkins and Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) are calling General Iron a health hazard and are calling for the "immediate closure of this facility."
Huge fire somewhere on the north side! View from Old Town. pic.twitter.com/nekwk3zGUt— Ali Ferrell (@hiimali1) December 6, 2015
Hazmat fire at a scrap yard at Marcey & Cortland, near 2000 N Clybourn. CFD attacking from above & below. pic.twitter.com/NcmQEWq5Oy— Alex Nitkin (@AlexNitkin) December 6, 2015
S & B Marcey & Cortland. Large pile of scrap burning. Multiple large diameter lines surrounding fire. pic.twitter.com/aWu7hrwRUx— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) December 6, 2015
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