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EPA says Cary firm rocked by explosion needs to stay closed

Published: Friday, March 8, 2013 6:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, March 9, 2013 8:18 a.m. CDT

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency wants a court order to prevent a Cary spray painting company from restarting its operations after three employees were injured after a Wednesday explosion and fire.

Portions of the front and rear walls of Fox Valley Systems were blown out in two reported explosions, and more than 20 businesses in the industrial park were evacuated. The business, at 640 Industrial Drive, is a marking and striping company that does traffic and athletic field painting.

IEPA Director John Kim asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to seek the order from a McHenry County judge to ensure there has been an investigation to implement preventative measures before the facility is allowed to restart operations.

The IEPA says it does not have a complete list of the chemicals at the Fox Valley Systems facility, but it likely had “significant amounts” of propane, toluene, acetone and ester, the agency said in a news release.

Firefighters called for hazmat units to assist with Wednesday’s incident.

The court order would require the business to give the IEPA a full inventory of the chemicals at the site. The IEPA also asked that there be a complete cleanup of the area around Fox Valley Systems and its facilities.

Officials said runoff from firefighting efforts, which included chemicals from the plant and firefighting foam, seeped into a retention pond near the facility at 640 Industrial Drive and polluted it.

IEPA officials are requesting records of all chemicals present in the facility and remediation plans for the cleanup, among other documentation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration found seven serious violations when it investigated a 1995 accident in which two Fox Valley Systems employees were hospitalized and a third was exposed to carbon monoxide, according to the OSHA report. Two other OSHA investigation, one in 2004 and the other in 2009, each found two serious violations, according to the report.

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