East St. Louis residents report feeling sick after chemical spill Saturday

Published: Jul. 23, 2022 at 11:23 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 23, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
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EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- A chemical spill at Allnex chemical plant on Missouri Avenue sparked the City of East St. Louis to advise some residents to stay at home Saturday afternoon while hazmat crews were taking care of the situation.

The city advised people who live from 25th-29th and from Bond Avenue to State Street to stay inside or avoid the area. East St. Louis first responders and St. Clair County hazmat teams at the scene were originally expected to have the spill cleared by 12 p.m. East St. Louis later said the cleanup was extended until at least 3 p.m. Around 7:30 p.m., the all-clear was given.

In a Facebook post, East St. Louis said people who feel ill because of the leak should go to the emergency room.

The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency said smoke was coming from a tanker trailer just after 7 a.m. The East St. Louis Fire Department requested a hazmat team for assistance. It is also unclear how big the spill was or what chemicals are involved.

“We really don’t know what’s really in it right now,” said ESL fire chief Jason Blackmon. “Did have like a plastic smell to it but around about 9, 10 o’clock, it had dissipated. It was no longer in the air.”

Two people were injured several weeks ago after an explosion at the same plant.

“Sometime around noon, or thereabout, the wind is blowing whatever is being emitted in the air. Start to get burning eyes, stinging eyes,” said former East St. Louis PD Chief and councilmember Delbert Marion, who was at an outdoor church event just a few blocks from the spill. “People were getting sick. They were getting nauseated, and even me--right now, I’m feeling the same effects from it. This is the second episode with them in the last three weeks. If people start to get sick down here, you’re going to hear from us.”

Another reported spill happened at Allnex’s Louisville plant in April.

Allnex later released the following statement about spill in East St. Louis on Saturday:

On July 23, 2022, at approximately 6:30 a.m., vapor was seen coming from a chemical transport trailer along the fence line at the Allnex East St. Louis site and the fire department was immediately called. As a precautionary measure, a shelter in place was issued for the immediate neighborhood and air quality was measured regularly. The chemical measurements taken in the neighborhood from the local emergency services were consistent with water vapor, and there was no off-site negative impact detected.  All restrictions and shelter in place orders were lifted after these measures. Emergency services have left the site, and Allnex has continued to monitor the facility 24/7. The facility is currently not in operation. We will provide more information as soon as it becomes available.