Massive fire destroys farm supply store in Shorewood, sends toxic fumes into air

Shelter-in-place order was in place for an hour, Shorewood police say

ByEvelyn Holmes and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team and Stephanie Wade via WLS logo
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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A massive fire destroyed a farm supply store in Shorewood Tuesday morning. Officials said burning fertilizer released toxic fumes into the air over Will County.

SHOREWOOD, Ill. (WLS) -- A massive fire destroyed a farm supply store in Shorewood Tuesday morning. Officials said burning fertilizer released toxic fumes into the air over Will County.

The fire broke out at around 4:30 a.m. at the Tri-County Stockdale Company on Black Road. The farm supply store sells animal feed, as well as yard care and fertilizer.

A caller said they saw flames and smoke coming out of the front of the building. By the time the fire department arrived, the fire was through the roof and moving quickly.

WATCH | Chopper7 over Shorewood fire

"Burning fertilizer and pesticides is toxic and even if you don't have respiratory issues to begin with, it's still going to irritate your respiratory system," Troy Fire Protection District Chief Andy Doyle. "You can have coughing, wheezing, burning eyes and we don't want anybody to have to go through that. Plus the effects down the line for anybody who has asthma or anything like that is going to affect even worse, especially with how humid it is out here too. And that's what affected the smoke, was the humidity was keeping it close to the ground."

Shorewood police issued a shelter-in-place order for two miles north and northeast of the fire due to fumes from the fire. Authorities lifted the shelter-in-place order after about an hour.

"I could see the smoke going by just to the west of us," Shorewood resident Bill Barney said. "I think the winds have shifted and now we can smell a little bit of the most that was left."

Daylight revealed the devastation caused by the fire. In all, four of six buildings of the popular farm supply store were lost. Chickens and two exotic birds that were in the building were rescued by emergency personnel.

Nearby fire hydrants didn't have enough water, so fire officials called in a tanker and extra crews from 15 different agencies to help.

The fire has been contained, though crews continued to put out hot spots Tuesday afternoon.

No injuries were reported, and the building was closed at the time of the fire. Crews are continuing to monitor the air quality and officials have notified the EPA.

Fire officials said none of the buildings had a sprinkler system or fire alarm system, and it could take days before a cause of the fire is determined.

"We have no idea right now," Chief Doyle said. "We can't even speculate as to what the cause was. There's no way to get in to physically look at anything yet. It's not safe and there's still a little bit of fire going on in there."