General Iron cited $6K for explosions at Lincoln Park scrap yard

A North Side scrap recycler was cited $6,000 Wednesday after the city ordered it closed due to a pair of large explosions Monday at its Lincoln Park facility.

The Chicago Department of Public Health issued two citations to General Iron Industries, 1909 N. Clifton Ave., for violating “Illinois state pollution standards,” the agency said Thursday.

The Chicago Department of Buildings and the Chicago Fire Department had already ordered General Iron closed, and CDPH says the scrap yard will remain shuttered until a repair plan is approved by city officials and shared with the community.

An exception will be made for onsite maintenance, machinery repairs and removal of materials from the site, CDPH said.

Monday’s explosions started in the metal shredding conveyor system and damaged multiple buildings, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.

General Iron Industries spokesman Randall Samborn said at the time that there was no fire after the initial explosion, and that the company was investigating potential causes, including “potential sabotage.”

Though fire officials said that air quality tests conducted in the immediate aftermath of the explosions showed no health risks to the community, CDPH said they are installing air quality monitors to keep track of any potential pollutants.

The company was ordered into a consent decree last year with the Environmental Protection Agency for polluting the air and operating without the correct permit. Monday’s explosions also damaged a piece of equipment meant to help comply with that decree, Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) said.

General Iron had previously agreed to leave their Lincoln Park site for the Southeast Side by the end of 2020.

The company did not respond to a request for comments about the citations Thursday evening.