Early this morning, an extra alarm fire at the General Iron plant, in the 1900 block of North Clifton, which is located in the 2nd Ward, also triggered several loud explosions in the area. While flames were put out within a couple of hours, this episode has elevated the concerns raised by this facility to one of an immediate safety question.
We must be assured that the incident does not pose an immediate health danger to our constituents and neighbors and whether continued operation of this facility should be permitted. That is why 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins and I are calling for a full investigation of the facility and the incident, including determining whether toxins were released into the air or the Chicago River as a result of the fire and explosions, and whether the plant is in compliance with applicable environmental and safety regulations.
Moreover, with the relocation of Finkl Steel, this site is the last piece of heavy industry in an area that has moved to other uses. It is becoming apparent that this sort of use is out of step with the direction of our community.
Alderman Hopkins and I will be working together on future uses of the area with sensitivity to the communities bordering this site and the former Finkl Steel plant.
We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.