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updated: 3/8/2013 10:48 AM

Environmental crews working on scene of Cary explosion

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  • Cary Fire Department investigators and a Cary police officers gather in the parking lot of Fox Valley Systems in Cary on Thursday, the day after multiple explosions.

       Cary Fire Department investigators and a Cary police officers gather in the parking lot of Fox Valley Systems in Cary on Thursday, the day after multiple explosions.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • An employee from Environmental Monitoring and Technologies takes water samples from a sewer in a nearby retention pond down the street from Fox Valley Systems Thursday, the day after multiple explosions at the Cary plant.

       An employee from Environmental Monitoring and Technologies takes water samples from a sewer in a nearby retention pond down the street from Fox Valley Systems Thursday, the day after multiple explosions at the Cary plant.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Field technician Michael Bernstein, left, and project foreman Steve Clack of SET Environmental, Inc. sift through leaves and vegetation checking for paint flecks and other possible contaminants in a retention pond a few doors down from Fox Valley Systems in Cary.

       Field technician Michael Bernstein, left, and project foreman Steve Clack of SET Environmental, Inc. sift through leaves and vegetation checking for paint flecks and other possible contaminants in a retention pond a few doors down from Fox Valley Systems in Cary.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Workers from SET Environmental work on the premises of Fox Valley Systems in Cary, taking care of runoff water and checking for contamination on Thursday, the day after multiple explosions at the plant.

       Workers from SET Environmental work on the premises of Fox Valley Systems in Cary, taking care of runoff water and checking for contamination on Thursday, the day after multiple explosions at the plant.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Brett Coleman, owner of Coleman's restaurant, which is across the street from Fox Valley Systems in Cary, happened to be looking out the window when Wednesday's explosions happened at the plant. Coleman then saw office workers run from the building without their coats on and offered to take them into the restaurant. A few minutes later a Cary policeman came over and evacuated everyone.

       Brett Coleman, owner of Coleman's restaurant, which is across the street from Fox Valley Systems in Cary, happened to be looking out the window when Wednesday's explosions happened at the plant. Coleman then saw office workers run from the building without their coats on and offered to take them into the restaurant. A few minutes later a Cary policeman came over and evacuated everyone.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • An employee from Environmental Monitoring and Technologies Thursday tests water samples near Fox Valley Systems, the day after multiple explosions at the Cary plant.

       An employee from Environmental Monitoring and Technologies Thursday tests water samples near Fox Valley Systems, the day after multiple explosions at the Cary plant.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Fire at Fox Valley Systems

 
 

Environmental crews worked Thursday at the scene of a series of explosions at factory in Cary that injured three people Wednesday.

Police and fire were called after an initial explosion about 1:10 p.m. at Fox Valley Systems Inc. at 640 Industrial Drive. Rescuers arrived at about the time of a second explosion, officials said, and ordered the evacuation of more than 20 neighboring businesses.

A hazardous-materials response team and a foam-spraying truck also assisted in putting out the blaze due to hazardous materials in the paint factory, officials said.

Injured in the explosion were Jose Martinez, 28, of Elgin; Jorge Anastio, 28, of Carpentersville; and Robert Hance, whose age and hometown were not immediately available, Cary Fire Protection District Chief Jeff Macko said.

All three appeared to have nonlife threatening injuries and were taken to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Lake Barrington, Macko said.

Martinez and Hance were later transferred to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, while Anastio was taken to Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, he said.

Martinez and Hance were in serious condition Thursday evening, a hospital spokesman said.

Anastio was in fair condition Thursday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Macko said he couldn't comment on the possible cause of the explosions. The area of the factory where the fire originated and part of a wall collapsed is currently uninhabitable, he said.

The investigation is being handled by the Cary fire and police departments and the state fire marshal, Macko said.

"I would imagine that the investigation would be finalized probably sometime next week," he said.

Phone and email messages Thursday were not immediately returned by representatives of Fox Valley Systems.

According to its website, the company started in 1970 and created the first aerosol spray can that works upside down. It sells marking paint and equipment, including devices to stripe roads and athletic fields.

Employees from SET Environmental, Inc. in Wheeling, declined to say what work they were performing Thursday.

Mike Gower, owner of Environmental Monitoring and Technologies, Inc. in Morton Grove, said his company is a subcontractor for SET, an emergency spill contractor for the state of Illinois.

"We're taking samples of the water, to make sure nothing got into the sewer that would be a pollutant," he said.

Cary Village Administrator Christopher Clark said public works staff has been on duty 24/7 since the incident.

"There are no issues that we are concerned about that would impact the safety of residents," he said.

Investigators from the North Aurora office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were at the scene Wednesday and Thursday.

"We don't know what happened yet," said Kathy Webb, the area director. OSHA is looking for the cause of the explosion, any contributing factors, and any workplace safety violations.

It has up to six months to file a complaint if it finds any violations.

Aside from a 1995 explosion in which three workers were injured, OSHA inspections in 2004 and 2009 found violations of electrical standards and forklift operation standards, Webb said.

Michael Ginsberg, owner of 3Gstore across the street, said he went outside after the initial explosion, and called 911 as he saw flames shooting out of the factory.

"(The explosion) was really huge, the whole building shook," he said. "I saw someone on the driveway (of the factory), he look liked he was in pain and people were catering to him."

Ginsberg began filming the scene and the arrival of emergency responders, and caught a second large explosion on tape.

Brett Coleman, owner of Coleman's restaurant across the street from the factory, said he happened to be looking out the window when the explosions took place.

A few employees from the factory's front office ran out of the building, and he ushered them into his business, Coleman said. Officials said there were approximately two dozen employees in the factory at that time.

"It was pretty scary, everyone was worried because of the nature of the business," Coleman said.

Coleman praised the efforts of the fire and police departments who responded. "I think they did a great job," he said.

After the evacuation order, Ginsberg said he kept checking the scene from home via his security camera, and returned to the office at about 7:15 p.m. when he saw emergency responders had left.

"Everybody is back at work normally today," he said.

"Industrial Drive is usually dead, but it's like a parking lot (today). Everybody is driving by, stopping to see the damage and driving away."

• Daily Herald staff photographer Laura Stoecker and staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this story.

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