BEACH PARK, Ill. (FOX 32) - Almost a month after a chemical spill sent 40 people in the far north suburbs to the hospital, neighbors are still suffering from the effects.
Some are still sick and worried that their illnesses will lead to permanent disabilities. Others who escaped physical injury are wondering who is going to pay for all the damage to their trees and yards.
Ammonia fumes leaking out of a tank being hauled by a trailer on Green Bay Road left 28-year-old Juan Hernandez in critical condition April 25. About 40 people had to be hospitalized for trouble breathing.
Hernandez was in bed when the fumes filled his home, steps from the accident scene. A month later, he’s walking and talking, but headed to his lung doctor again. The prognosis is not good.
“I was in critical condition,” said Hernandez. “I was put under for 24 hours and when I woke up, I didn’t feel the same. I felt weak trying to do stuff. I felt like I had some energy, but as soon as I started doing anything I’d like lose my breath or I’d just feel tired.”
Hernandez’s stepfather showed FOX 32 the trees, now brown, in their backyard. We also found evergreens on the entire block, and the next one over, dead. The grass is also dead, plants too. It's al very costly, and neighbors want to know, who is going to pay for it?
“The pine trees, even if they do survive, they’re going to look really ugly because there’s so much damage to them," said Lyle Caldara, a neighbor.