Old Refrigerator Triggers Hazmat Incident in Illinois

A homeowner chipping ice from a 1940s refrigerator accidentally caused a leak Friday afternoon that led firefighters to evacuate a few houses in Libertyville and close a lane of southbound Route 21.

The accident occurred at 3 p.m. Friday in the basement of a home on the 200 block of Johnson Avenue north of downtown Libertyville.

It was determined that the material escaping from the broken coil was sulfur dioxide, said Assistant Chief Brian Conner of the Libertyville Fire Department.

Since firefighters do not have equipment that works with that poisonous gas, the Hazardous Materials Team of Lake and McHenry County was called.

No one was injured, Conner said.

The last equipment left the scene at about 7:30 p.m. Friday. Fire departments from Lake Forest. Countryside, Grayslake, Round Lake, Lake Zurich and Wauconda assisted.