IEPA to Investigate Exxon Mobile Incident
At least one Elwood resident continues to be worried about what was in the substance that covered his property was dangerous and he wants answers.
The first clue for Kelsey Hirmer that something was wrong was the smell.
"My mom, for the first time in 33 years, left her work keys at home and she woke me up," Hirmer said. "I made it home and I put my car in the garage and I was like, what is that smell?"
Hirmer was in Elwood on Oct. 19 when Exxon Mobile had an airborn release of a hydrocarbon-based material. She said she initially thought it was a very light rain that had fallen on her.
"You wouldn’t even have noticed it," she said. "It came down at an angle."
Earlier this week, she began to feel ill.
"I ended up going to an emergency room on Wednesday and they put me in a hotel, so I wasn’t anywhere near (the affected area)," she said.
She absolutely believes her illness has something to do with being rained on by the chemical. She said Exxon Mobile continues to say that the chemical release will not harm people, but she isn't so sure.
"The chemicals that are listed – that’s serious stuff," she said.
Apparently she is not alone. WJOL is reporting that, "Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Interim Director John Kim has asked the Illinois Attorney General's office to proceed with an enforcement action against Exxon-Mobile in Joliet."
The story continues, saying, "Exxon-Mobile has also been asked by the I-E-P-A to sample the affected land and nearby Jackson Creek, and provide them with sample results."
Kelsey Hirmer's father also lives in Elwood. He was out of town on business the day the spill occurred. He is deeply concerned about the spill - going so far as to refuse Exxon Mobile's efforts permission to clean his property until he gets some answers.
"It's not cleaned up yet, because I have stopped them," Chris Hirmer said. "I want some answers.
"What are you going to do about my garden? It got totally destroyed; what are you going to do about changing the attitude about people who could look at my house as potential buyers?"
Earlier this week, representatives from Exxon Mobile were on his property taking soil samples.
While Chris Hirmer did not allow the clean-up crew on his property, he did see them working on his neighbors' houses.
"I see them powerwashing," he said. "That’s all fine, but there is still a lot of stuff that doesn’t get cleaned through powerwashing.
"Until I get some answers, nobody is doing anything at my house."