File Photo – North Shore Water Reclamation District in Zion | Photo: Google Street View

A firefighter was transported to the hospital after an industrial fire at the North Shore Water Reclamation District in Zion prompted the response of a dozen fire departments.

The Zion Fire-Rescue Department responded around 6:10 p.m. Sunday to the North Shore Water Reclamation District, 4701 9th Street in Zion, for a report of a structure fire.

Zion Fire-Rescue Department Lt. Ian Kennedy said the workers on site called 911 to report the incident.

The fire was located in a silo inside the large industrial building, which is a biosolids recycling center for the water district.

The silo, approximately three stories above ground level, had dust and material burning inside.

“Under normal conditions, the industrial plant pumps Nitrogen gas into [the] silo to smother burning, but this was ineffective due to possible machinery damage/defect, allowing air into silo, keeping burning state active,” Kennedy explained.

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Firefighters were initially concerned the nitrogen release could affect them and there was also concern about a dust explosion, Kennedy said.

Crews accessed a sealed hatch six stories above ground level at the top of the silo.

They deployed a hose line and doused water into the silo from the top down to cool and smother burning material.

There is no threat to public health or to the environment nearby, Kennedy said.

One firefighter was transported to the hospital for evaluation of a medical issue and has been released back to full duty.

Kennedy said the fire began at the base of the silo in an area of a valve that allowed clean air to enter. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

The Beach Park, Winthrop Harbor, Newport, Gurnee, Lake Villa, Lake Forest, Fox Lake, Bristol, Kenosha, Grayslake and Waukegan fire departments responded to assist.

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Firefighters from Libertyville, Antioch, Lake Forest, North Chicago and Countryside covered calls in Zion.