Ammonia, which is poured from a farm tractor at Beach Park in early Thursday, sends at least 37 people to hospitals, including seven reported to be in critical condition around noon.
The spill began around 4:30 am in Green Bay Road and 29th Street, according to Sgt. Christopher Cowley, spokesman for Lake Sheriff's office.
Investigators believe that a tractor towed a pair of 2-tonne tanks containing anhydrous ammonia when they started running and Covelli said the investigators did not believe the vehicle was involved in a traffic jam.
"Essentially, this is the reason the substance comes out of the air," says Cowley, "which releases the jet in the air, which is extremely dangerous."
This substance can cause "unconsciousness and, at worst, even death," says Cooley.
According to Koweli, among the victims were emergency officers responding to the scene.
"The MPs arrived at the scene – our first MEPs – (and they) went out of their vehicles to try to help the people who were at the scene, including people who lay on the ground," said Cowley. from the vapors that were in the air.
"These MPs had to withdraw and leave the area. Subsequently, both were transported to a local hospital, treated and released. "
Covelli added that a total of 37 people were transported to hospitals "due to the inhalation of these toxic fumes. (Of) those 37, there are seven who are in critical condition with (that is) considered life-threatening injuries. "
Pamela Burnet, 57, said she had driven to a grocery store in Kennesa when she passed through the cloud of toxic gas.
Burnet, a non-corrupted resident of Warren Township, said he was on Green Bay Road when he saw the car in front of his brake and began to slow down his movement. She added that she could see a cloud, but she was not sure if it was smoke or dust from someone swinging on the shoulder of the road.
"It was getting bigger and bigger – it was not going away. I tried to slow down and not go through it, "she said, but it was too late.
– He did not smoke. I thought it was some kind of chemical, "Burnet added. "The next thing I knew, I could not breathe. It was such a strong smell. I thought, "God, that's it. I'm done already.
Speaking to a group of media gathered close to the scene, Burnett said she had taken her off the road while spitting and coughing and called 911. She added that she had seen a man lie nearby.
Burnet was transported to Condeel Medical Center in Libertyville and said a policeman would also be treated.
According to official officials, preliminary information shows that anhydrous ammonia has expired while the tractor traveled along Green Bay Road in the area of the 29th Street. The victims were transported to Condeel Medical Center in Libertyville, Eastern Medical Center in Watkigan. Hospital "St.
Covelli said a total of 11 firefighters and three police officers had been transported for treatment, including a firefighter / EMT from the Newport Township Fire Protection District, which was in a critical condition.
According to Covelli, most of the victims are determined to have "non-life" states and several dozen others have been rated by paramedics but not transported.
Mike Gallo, head of the department responsible for forest fires in the lake, said the value had failed when it was linked to the two containers the tractor was pulling on.
Gallo added that farmers often use the chemical to aerate the soil, and by 9 am Both reservoirs are emptied of ammonia.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that anhydrous ammonia is a colorless gas that can cause breathing difficulties, burns, blisters and is fatal if inhaled in high concentrations.
Several schools were closed and a one-mile perimeter was created, where residents were warned to shelter by shutting windows and shutting down heating or air conditioning. About 10 hours later, the arrival of the shelter was removed.
Terrence Jackson of Kenisha, who runs the 7-Eleven at the corner of York House and Green Bay, said he was approaching the 21st Street in Zion when he found that something was wrong with ambulances, police cars and fire trucks . before 5:30 in the morning
"I saw lights everywhere and I thought it was an accident," Jackson said, adding that he had taken an alternative route to work, but at 6:30 am he began to get headaches, sore throats, and a little bit disgusting.
"I did not feel that way when I left home," Jackson said. "Maybe I'll check, but I do not know."
By 9:30 am The first regional department officials were still going from door to door in a subdivision just a mile from where the accident happened. They wondered if the windows were open early in the morning and were feeling good.
"My window was open the night before, but not last night, thank God," says Analize Isles, who lives in a Green Bay Road subdivision at Beach Park, just over a kilometer from where the spill occurred.
Ilislis added that she had heard the police on the street with a megaphone before 5 am but she can not understand what they are saying as she is still awake. Shortly afterwards, she received a robocall and understood what had happened, she said.
Her 10-year-old daughter attends St. Patrick's School in Wadsworth, which was not close, but Isolis decided to keep her home, she said.
"I just felt better if we all stayed indoors because I did not want to drive through something dangerous," said Isles. "It was a great beginning of the day.
Robert Turner said he had heard the news about a spill near his Beach Park home by his sister who had watched a TV report and summoned him to make sure he was safe.
Turner drives a school bus for the 67th school in Lake Forest and immediately calls his boss to say he will not go to work because of a chemical spill just two blocks from his home.
"I'm 65," Turner said. "At that age, you do not recover as much as you are when you are younger, so I do not risk my health."
Turner said it was not until the police went to his door after 9:30 AM That he could take his 13-year-old Doberman to get rid of him.
"It was stressful for him, but it had to be done like that," Turner said.
Patricia Bidzinsky from Beach Park said she was surprised by a policeman from Illinois who called her in his car shortly before 5:30 am While walking his puppy near her home.
He said, "You have to go inside." There is a danger nearby, "Bidzinski said.
Soon afterwards, Bidzinski looked through her windows and saw that some of her neighbors were leaving and she thought she should, but eventually decided to stay in place, she said.
"I saw geese and birds in the lake behind my house and they looked good," Bidzinski said. "I told my friend that we had to deal with just staying inside, but I would not lie – it was scary."
Gallo said officials increased the five-alarm response to life safety in order to bring ambulances, and Cook County authorities were asked to send more ambulances.
There were 20 different departments responding to the call and involved 140 staff, according to Galo. Firefighters in a full-fledged material facility were on the scene after personnel sprayed water on the containers to reduce gas leakage.
"It was very difficult to try to keep the gas," Gallo said. By 11 am A quarter mile perimeter is still in place, and Gallo added that anyone in the area who has inhalation problems should call 911 and be transported.
Burnett said he feels good, except for occasional coughing. In fact, she worried about other people after telling her that some people were in critical condition.
"I hope others will get better," she said.
Check again for updates.
Catherine Rosenberg-Douglas is a Chicago Tribune reporter. Frank Abderholden is reporter at Lake County News-Sun. Free reporter Yadira Sanchez-Olson contributed.
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