The Latest: Fire chief: Chicago-area ammonia leak contained

BEACH PARK, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on a chemical leak in a north suburban Chicago community (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

Authorities say an anhydrous ammonia leak in north suburban Chicago has been contained.

Lake Forest Fire Chief Mike Gallo says a tractor was towing two separate 2-ton containers of the chemical that farmers use for soil early Thursday. Gallo says the leaking tank is now empty.

No information has been provided about how the leak occurred. Initial reports said the tractor was involved in a crash but authorities now say it doesn’t appear there was a collision.

Authorities are waiting for the chemical plume to dissipate. Gallo says the weather is good in the area and that’s helping.


8:40 a.m.

Authorities say hospitals are treating between 12 and 15 people who are in serious but stable condition after anhydrous ammonia leaked from containers that a tractor was pulling in a Chicago suburb.

Lake County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli says those injured Thursday morning include two deputies who first responded to the chemical spill. He says the deputies had to retreat when they were overcome by the chemical fumes.

Covelli says the tractor driver also was taken to a hospital. The spill happened in Beach Park, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of downtown Chicago.

Covelli says officers are going door-to-door near the spill to check on residents. Residents within a 1-mile radius have been asked to close windows, turn off ventilation and stay indoors. Covelli says it could be hours before that order is lifted.


7:25 a.m.

A police spokesman says a toxic gas cloud that’s forced residents in a suburban Chicago community to stay indoors with their windows closed is coming from a leaking tanker that was involved in a crash.

Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli says the first deputies on the scene had to retreat because they were immediately overcome by the strong fumes. The department believes the spilled substance is anhydrous ammonia.

Covelli says a tractor was pulling the tanker when it crashed about 4:30 a.m. Thursday and the toxic fumes began leaking, creating “a cloud of this toxic chemical.”

Covelli says there are reports of injuries but he doesn’t have details.

He says people within a 1-mile radius of the crash scene at Green Bay Road and 29th Street in the north suburban community should stay indoors with their windows closed while hazardous materials crews try to stop the leak.


6:27 a.m.

Authorities are urging residents in a suburban Chicago community to stay indoors with their windows closed following a chemical spill that resulted in a toxic gas cloud.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reported the hazardous material spill just before 5 a.m. Thursday in Beach Park, saying the spill has created “a dangerous chemical cloud” in a 1-mile radius of Green Bay Road and 29th Street in the north suburban community.

The sheriff’s department says the spill appears to be anhydrous ammonia.

Residents are being urged to stay inside with their windows closed while hazardous materials crews respond to the spill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says anhydrous ammonia is a colorless gas that can cause breathing difficulties, burns, blisters and can be fatal in high concentrations.

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