Geneva factory explosion prompts hazmat, OSHA response

Olon Industries makes laminate products used in furniture building

Area crews work to control a fire and hazmat response in the 400 block of Union Street Tuesday February 7, 2023 in Geneva.

GENEVA — Geneva Firefighters and a hazmat team responded Tuesday afternoon to an explosion and chemical fire at a factory in Geneva.

Geneva Fire Chief Mike Antenore told ABC 7 Chicago that firefighters arrived on the scene at Olon Industries around 1:33 p.m. They found a fire and a white plume of smoke coming from a storage building, he said.

Olon Industries makes laminate products used in furniture building. The fire drew a heavy fire department presence to the industrial facility at the dead end of Union Street. Crews used an aerial ladder truck to douse the flames from above.

It was later determined to be a chemical fire, prompting a hazardous materials response, Antenore said. Multiple chemicals were involved; Antenore said they are investigating which ones.

He said the damage was contained to the storage facility and did not reach the manufacturing side of the factory. Firefighters got the fire under control by 4:25 p.m.

A Geneva city alert early in the afternoon said fire officials were not sure anybody was injured, but Antenore did not report any injuries later.

People were evacuated from nearby Wheeler Park and the Geneva Township Senior Center as a precaution.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration also responded, an agency spokeswoman confirmed. The company has had no history with OSHA for the past 10 years, according to the spokeswoman.

The Geneva Public Works Department disconnected the electric supply to the factory building. The city’s water supply does not appear to be affected by the explosion, officials said, though Antenore told ABC 7 the Environmental Protection Agency and others were on the scene to assess it.

• Daily Herald staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.