On April 25, 2019, at approximately 4:25AM, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible vehicle fire in the area of North Green Bay Road & 29th Street, Beach Park. A Lake County Sheriff’s Sergeant and Lake County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on scene and observed what appeared to be a cloud of smoke. As the Sergeant and Deputy exited their squad cars, they were overcome with an airborne chemical.
The Sergeant and Deputy retreated, as the chemical was overpowering. There were several victims at the scene who were rescued by initial responding fire personnel.
Preliminary information shows a tractor was towing containers holding anhydrous ammonia. The containers leaked as the tractor was traveling on Green Bay Road in the area of 29th Street. This caused toxic plumes of the chemical to be released into the air.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Beach Park Fire established a Unified Command Post. The Beach Park Fire Department requested mutual-aid through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) to the 5th level, adding an alarm from a different MABAS division (25 ambulances, and HAZMAT Teams). The Lake County Sheriff’s Office requested mutual-aid through the Illinois Law-Enforcement Alarm System (ILEAS) to the 4th level, which allocated 20 additional police officers, to assist in closing a 1-mile perimeter from vehicular/pedestrian traffic.
Notifications were made via television/radio media, social media, automated call/text/email systems, and Nextdoor emergency alert, to notify Beach Park residents within a one-mile radius to shelter in place, keep all windows closed, and turn off HVAC systems.
The shelter in place request still remains. Law enforcement and fire personnel are currently going door-to-door to check on residents to ensure they are safe in their homes and not in medical distress. Thus far, there have been 31 people (including the Sheriff’s Sergeant, Sheriff’s Deputy, and a Zion Police Officer) have been transported to local hospitals.
Additional information will be released as it becomes available.