'There's a bad taste in the air,' says Little Village resident post smokestack demolition with petition underway

ByYukare Nakayama WLS logo
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Little Village resident says 'chalk-like taste in mouth' several days after coal plant demolition
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Little Village residents say they are still feeling the effects of a dust cloud that swept through the community after a smokestack was demolished on April 11.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Little Village residents are still feeling the brunt of the dust cloud that roamed through their community after a smokestack from the Old Crawford Coal plant was demolished on April 11.

Little Village resident, Guadalupe Reyes, was in the thick of the cloud dust. She only lives two blocks from the site.

"It's affected my mom and my daughter. My daughter is asthmatic and my mom is a colon cancer patient, it went to her lungs. So any little dust you know, affects her," said Reyes.

Reyes said her biggest concern is air quality, sharing that she and her daughter woke up with a taste of chalk in their mouths.

Local Leaders have delivered on their promise of face masks for the residents who live near the site. But there may not be enough to go around.

"They are only receiving two to three masks. These are also multi-unit homes so we have more than five people living in these building," said Edith Tovar, organizer at Little Village Environmental Justice Organization.

On Sunday, the group started a petition demanding quality protective masks for everyone affected, safe cleaning guidelines of dust that crept into homes, and all demolition activities to be suspended across Chicago until an investigation is conducted.

The petition also demands the owner of the site, Hilco Redevelopment Partners, pay for air quality testing, any damage to homes and any harm to residents.

On Tuesday, Hilco responded to the incident saying, "We acknowledge and apologize for the anxiety and fear caused this past weekend," adding, " We are cooperating with the city of Chicago and all appropriate agencies as they conduct a full review of the events on April 11th."

They also stated they would have company personnel knock on door to door to offer cleaning remedial services, free of charge.