Controversial General Iron Scrap Yard Shut Down After Explosion


WENT TO PICK UP FOOD FRIDAY NIGHT. THE RESTAURANT OWNER SAYS SHE GOT INTO A DISPUTE WITH HIM BEFORE HE RAN OVER HER DAUGHTER OUTSIDE. THE 24-YEAR-OLD VICTIM REMAINS HOSPITALIZED. A CONTROVERSIAL LINCOLN PARK SHREDDING PLANT SHUTDOWN FOLLOWING AN EXPLOSION YESTERDAY MORNING. RESIDENCE, FIGHTING FOR THE CLOSURE FOUR YEARS, THEY TELL MEGAN HICKEY IT IS ABOUT TIME. SHE JOINS US LIVE. BUT, THE COMPANY HINTED AT POTENTIAL SABOTAGE. Reporter: RIGHT, BRAD. TODAY, A GENERAL IRON SPOKESPERSON WOULD NOT ELABORATE ON THE STATEMENT THAT THEY WOULD BE INVESTIGATING ALL POSSIBLE CAUSES, INCLUDING POTENTIAL SABOTAGE. MEANWHILE, RESIDENTS AROUND HERE SAY THE AIR-QUALITY READINGS BROUGHT GOOD NEWS THE DAY AFTER THE SHUTDOWN. MY ENTIRE HOUSE SHOOK. THE ALARM IN MY HOUSE WAS SET OFF. PAINTINGS FELL OFF MY WALL. Reporter: AN EXPLOSION, AND AN ENORMOUS PLUME OF SMOKE AROUND 9 AM MONDAY. IT IS SOME KIND OF EXPLOSION. Reporter: IT WAS CENTERED AROUND THIS BLUE STRUCTURE AT THE LINCOLN PARK METAL RECYCLING FACILITY. THEY DID A ROLL CALL, ALL MEMBERS ARE ACCOUNTED FOR. WILL THIS BE THE THING THAT FINALLY GETS OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO ACT ON THIS SERIAL POLLUTER DURING A TIME OF A RESPIRATORY PANDEMIC? Reporter: THEY HAVE BEEN WORRIED ABOUT THE CHEMICAL OWNER. IT OBVIOUSLY SMELLS LIKE PETROLEUM OR GAS IN THE AIR. Reporter: AND, TOXIC FLUFF OR DUST ACCUMULATING ON THE STREETS AND CRACKS IN THE SIDEWALKS FOUR YEARS. IT PUTS US AT RISK. Reporter: GENERAL IRON HAS A HISTORY OF VIOLATIONS WITH THE EPA IN CHICAGO HEALTH INSPECTORS FOR THE TOXIC FLUFF AND EXCESSIVE AIR EMISSIONS. IT HAS BEEN A LENGTHY BATTLE TO RELOCATE THE FACILITY WHICH IS WHY BRIAN HOPKINS SAYS HE IS GLAD THE CITY DID NOT WAIT TO ORDER THE CLOSURE. IT DID NOT MAKE SENSE TO ALLOW THEM TO CONTINUE OPERATING IN THE MIDDLE OF A VIRUS WHEN WE ALL KNOW THE RISKS. Reporter: AFTER A SPIKE IN POLLUTION READINGS ON THE PRIVATE AIR MONITORS YESTERDAY, ELLIPSE AFTER AN EXPLOSION LIKE THAT, BEING AFRAID TO WALK OUTSIDE, AND TO BREATHE THE AIR, TO LET YOUR KIDS OUTSIDE. Reporter: THEY ARE HAPPY TO REPORT A DIP THIS MORNING, AFTER THE PLANTS CLOSING. THE GENERAL IRON WAS ALREADY UNDER AN AGREEMENT TO CEASE OPERATIONS HERE BY DECEMBER 2020, THE ALDERMAN SAYS THAT HE WOULD OPPOSE THEM REOPENING AT THIS LINCOLN PARK SITE BEFORE THAT. IT SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE A PRETTY TROUBLED HISTORY AND BLAMING SABOTAGE SEEMS LIKE AN EASY EXCUSE. WHAT ELSE IS GENERAL IRON SAYING ABOUT THE EXPLOSION, MEGAN? Reporter: AFTER THAT SABOTAGE, AND YESTERDAY, A SPOKESPERSON TODAY SAID THEY WILL NOT SPECULATE ON THE CAUSE UNTIL THAT INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETE. THEY ADDED THAT THE COMPANY SAYS THEY WERE CURRENTLY OPERATING IN FULL COMPLIANCE WITH AIR-QUALITY MEASURES.

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