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updated: 11/3/2017 10:49 PM

Madigan, Berlin file suit against Speedway for Willowbrook explosions

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  • A lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin seeks to keep this Speedway station closed at 6241 Cass Ave. in Westmont.

      A lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin seeks to keep this Speedway station closed at 6241 Cass Ave. in Westmont.
    Robert Sanchez | Staff Photographer/October 2017

 
Daily Herald report

Two top law enforcement officials have filed a lawsuit against Speedway LLC in response to an Oct. 20 petroleum leak at the company's gas station in Westmont that triggered explosions that damaged a Willowbrook condominium complex, caused three house fires and injured several people.

The complaint, filed in DuPage County by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and DuPage State's Attorney Robert Berlin, asks the court to require the Speedway at 6241 Cass Ave. to remain closed and that the company be required to monitor the air at any affected homes along a nearby sewer line and investigate and address any contamination from the gasoline spill.

The station includes six underground storage tanks, four of which are 10,000-gallon tanks that are adjacent a county sanitary sewer system. The complaint says Speedway officials identified signs of a potential leak days before the explosions.

Investigators believe fuel leaked from the station into the Flagg Creek Water Reclamation District sanitary sewer system and local storm sewers.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency referred the case to the attorney general's office for prosecution after the explosion in a laundry room at the Knolls of Willowbrook condominiums in which one person was injured and all 150 units had to be evacuated. Twelve of those units are still uninhabitable, authorities said, and could remain that way for months.

Authorities said a total of 10 explosions occurred in nearby houses and along the sewer line, injuring at least three others. Six other homes had to be evacuated because of the leak and 14 manhole covers were blown off along the sewer line.

"Today's complaint and injunction requires Speedway to remain closed until it can assure the state that it has cleaned up, determined and remedied the causes, and can ensure the safety of its operations," Madigan said in a news release.

Speedway is a subsidiary of Ohio-based Marathon Petroleum Corp.

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