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Illinois coatings plant explosion injures three

08 March 2013

Two explosions and a fire at a coatings plant near Chicago this week injured three people and sparked panic in the surrounding area. The first explosion shook Fox Valley Systems Inc on March 6 was followed several minutes later by a large fire. The company, located in an industrial park in Cary, Illinois, manufactures traffic, athletic, and marking paint and striping equipment. Cary is about 45 northwest of Chicago.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze, a second explosion intensified the situation. After the second blast, firefighters were pulled away from the building and "went into a defensive position" to prevent the fire from spreading, CBS Chicago reported. 

The explosions blew out both the front and back walls of the building as flames and heavy smoke poured out, several local media outlets reported. Between 25 and 35 nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution.

Firefighters from 15 departments battled the fire for several hours, and a hazardous materials foam truck was brought in to help tame the flames.

The Cary Fire Department, the State Fire Marshal, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration started an investigation on March 7.

According to CBS, Fox Valley Systems has received several OSHA citations in the past. Most recently, in 2009, the company was cited with two serious violations involving heavy machinery. In 2004, OSHA also issued two serious violations, citing standards for "general requirements" and "hazardous (classified) locations."

In business since 1970, Fox Valley Systems describes itself as "The original marking and striping company," as well as stating that it created the first aerosol spray can that works upside-down.


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