(KMOV)-- Crews were called to the scene of a hazmat situation on California Drive at Highway 157 in St. Clair County.
Fairview Heights Fire Department confirmed the hazmat incident was at Illini Environmental Inc.
The company owner said employees were mixing 2 drums of chlorine bath tablets (toilet bowl cleaner) with latext paint to prepare them for shipment to a landfill when they gave off a lot of vapor. The white smoke/chemical cloud was so thick that it was first thought to be a fire.
An employee called police to report a chemical spill but a passerby called 911 and reported a fire.
The owner said the smoke shouldn't be hazardous but as a precaution the business was evacuated and residents in two nearby homes were told to shelter in place, stay in home with windows shut and ac/heat turned off.
No injuries were reported.
Hazmat teams were testing the air and mixed materials to be sure what was mixed and that it didn't pose any further threat to workers or neighbors.
Illini Environmental Inc. gets non-hazardous waste ready for landfills.