An explosion at Arens Controls Facility in northwest suburban Arlington Heights in Chicago, has left one person dead and ten injured.
Firefighters and police responded to Arens in the 3600 block of North Kennicott Avenue around 9 a.m. for what they considered at the time a chemical explosion. About 50 employees were evacuated and were left standing outside for more than three hours after the explosion this morning at the factory in Chicago.
Seven workers were injured and three police officers, two from Arlington Heig
hts and one from Buffalo Grove departments, were treated for respiratory problems.
The Arlington Heights Fire Department have reported the injuries were caused by a malfunctioning machine. Police have confirmed it was likely an industrial accident because there is no visible damage on the outside of the factory building.
Arlington Heights Fire Chief Glenn Erickson said in a statement, “The chemical they were using was a diluted form of potassium hydroxide. At this point in time we don’t know what role the chemical had in the accident, if it had any role at all.”
Firefighters and police are still investigating what exactly caused the explosion at the Arlington Heights Factory in Chicago.
Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer, MD, medical director of occupational health at Loyola University Health System said, “After an industrial accident, even if someone can ‘walk away’ without visible injuries, it doesn’t mean there aren’t health concerns. Even after authorities have determined the cause of today’s explosion, the uncertainty and worry about the tragedy can continue for several weeks or months. It’s important during this time to help employees and neighbors to stay focused to limit additional injuries.”
Police said they are waiting for OSHA’s arrival before they are able to conduct a full investigation. “Destruction and devastation in there from the equipment that exploded,” said Arlington Heights police Cmdr. Kenneth Galinski of the scene. “A lot of twisted metal.”