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Alsip plant ordered to probe blast cause

Smoke billows from Blue IslPhenol plant as fire departments from south suburbs try contaDec. 13 fire Alsip factory. A judge

Smoke billows from the Blue Island Phenol plant as fire departments from the south suburbs try to contain the Dec. 13 fire at the Alsip factory. A judge has ordered the manufacturing unit damaged in the explosion and fire remain shut until an investigatio

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Updated: February 3, 2014 3:41PM

A manufacturing unit at an Alsip chemical plant will remain out of commission until the cause of a Dec. 13 explosion that injured two workers is determined, Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office said Tuesday.

A Cook County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday granted Madigan’s request for a preliminary injunction keeping the unit at Blue Island Phenol offline while the company investigates what caused the explosion and reports its findings to her office, according to a news release.

Madigan filed a lawsuit against the company on Dec. 27, alleging, among other things, multiple violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act by the company.

The explosion at the plant at 131st Street and South Homan Avenue triggered a major emergency response from 40 area fire departments.

The explosion and fire followed a chemical release in the factory’s cumene unit, which manufactures phenol and acetone.

Madigan’s lawsuit claims the explosion was caused by propane gas leaking from a ruptured pipe in the cumene unit and forming a vapor cloud, which then was ignited by an unknown source.

The judge who approved the injunction set a Feb. 18 status hearing on the lawsuit.

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