35 released, two remain hospitalized after chemical leak from truck leaving Wisconsin farm

NOW: 35 released, two remain hospitalized after chemical leak from truck leaving Wisconsin farm

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. (CBS 58) -- Toxic chemicals have been removed from the area after a leak in Lake County, Illinois but the damage has been done.

Thirty five of the 37 people who wound up in the hospital have been discharged, including 11 firefighters and three police officers. The two remaining have been upgraded from critical to serious condition. Some victims worry they have lung damage.

"I’m sure I do," said Kerem Yilmaz, who fought back a cough he's had since his home was surrounded in smoke Thursday.

Yilmaz says his whole family was evacuated from the cloud of toxic gas, using nothing but towels to cover their face on the way to the ambulance.

Everyone but Kerem went to the hospital.

“I was scared," his son Abel Reyes said. "I didn’t know what was happening.”

While some families were rushed to a nearby middle school, people a little farther away from the leak were boarded up in their own homes.

“We had to stay inside," neighbor Phil Baylog said. "We had to make sure we didn’t turn on any fans in our house. Furnace or air conditioning. And we just needed to wait until we had the all clear.”

Victims now wonder who will ultimately be responsible for damages caused and medical bills.

Yilmaz is more concerned about lasting health issues.

“We all question what’s next," Yilmaz said. "What kind of health problem are we going to get. We don’t know.”

No charges have been filed in the case. Federal officials told CBS 58 News the truck was leaving John Keveck Farms in Pleasant Prarie. The gas was anhydrous ammonia, which is used as a fertilizer but is both toxic and corrosive.

The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of investigating and says it could take more than a year to determine exactly what caused the leak.

Share this article: