Carus LLC Fire News Updates

News Update

Carus LLC Fire News Updates


Carus Community Hotline | 815-224-6662
For questions regarding the fire, community cleanup, and insurance claims.

U.S. EPA | 800-621-8431 |
For questions regarding air quality and overall environmental impact.
U.S. EPA Air Quality Report |

LaSalle County Health Department | 815-433-3366 x 244 |
For questions regarding personal health.

Illinois Department of Agriculture | 217-782-2172 |
For questions regarding livestock.
Guidance for Animals Impacted by Carus Fire | Updated LaSalle Fire Flyer

Illinois Department of Natural Resources | 217-782-5302 |
For questions regarding wildlife.

Carus LLC Shares Root Cause of January 11, 2023 Fire

PERU, IL (March 24, 2023 2:00 pm) – Carus is committed to getting to the root cause of the fire that broke out at our LaSalle manufacturing facility on January 11th, 2023. Our facility, along with our customers, have been safely storing potassium permanganate and sodium permanganate for decades. Understanding what happened that day is important for all of us, as we move forward and restart our operations.

As best as we can determine, the fire was caused by a combination of events, none of which are unsafe or could cause a fire by themselves. Specifically:

  • Potassium Permanganate (material) which was contained in “Supersac” packaging (a common form of packaging) was being transported from our warehouse to a waiting truck. As it was being loaded with a forklift truck, the packaging was damaged in transit. This is not by itself an issue.
  • Per normal procedure, the warehouse team attempted to repair the Supersac, and cleaned up the spilled material. When it became apparent that they could not repair the Supersac, they moved the damaged Supersac to another location in the warehouse.
  • As the damaged Supersac was being moved, it appears that friction caused by the forklift truck moving the pallet somehow ignited the material underneath the pallet, which then created a fire. The fire spread quickly at this point.

Again, these three things taken in isolation would not result in a fire, but in this case, they happened to align in just the right way to result in a fire.  

In the 100 years Carus has been in business, we have never had an event like this. We cannot emphasize enough how thankful we are that all employees, contractors, and emergency responders were safe and accounted for throughout the crisis.

Carus is committed to mitigating the risk that there could be a repeat of this event. Our highest priority is the safety of our employees and the communities and customers we serve. Carus has been a staple in the LaSalle-Peru community for over a century. We take pride in producing environmental products that clean the air, water, and soil. As an organization, we are focused on preserving our planet for a more sustainable future.

UPDATE (March 14, 2023 1:00 pm)

Carus Applies for Permit for Temporary Vacuum Transfer System at LaSalle Plant

Carus has applied for a permit to install a second vacuum transfer system at the LaSalle plant to move solid materials, temporarily replacing a system damaged in the fire on January 11, 2023.

A vacuum transfer system is a pump that creates a vacuum to pull dry, powdered material out of a drum and place it into a tank for use.

The second system is temporary, and the two systems on the site will not run at the same time.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) permits the installation, and Carus will continue to work with the IEPA, City of LaSalle and others to prioritize the safety of its employees and the community. We anticipate receiving approval to install the Temporary Vacuum Pump by March 31, 2023. Installation of the Temporary Vacuum Transfer System will take a day or two to install once the permit is officially approved. The system would become operational later in the month of April.

UPDATE (March 10, 2023 4:00 pm)

Carus Insurance Claims Process

Carus continues to be focused on helping the community following the January 11 fire at our LaSalle, IL, manufacturing facility.

We understand that the insurance claim process can be a confusing and difficult one. We also recognize that this process has taken longer than we expected, and understand your frustration.

The Carus team has been working diligently to address the claims submission process for those who submitted a claim directly to our insurance company. Because of those efforts, we are happy to share that community members who have submitted claims either have already been contacted or will be contacted in the near future to schedule appointments for the field adjuster to evaluate property, including homes, vehicles, or other damages.

For information about the insurance claims process and other FAQs, click here, and community members are still encouraged to call the Carus Community Hotline at 815-224-6662 for questions regarding the fire, community cleanup, and insurance claims.

Carus has been rooted in the LaSalle-Peru community for more than 100 years. We love and support this community, where our employees live and work. We are committed to working with each of you and supporting you through this process.

Carus Stormwater Spill and Cleanup

On March 6, 2023, at approximately 10:00 a.m., workers from a cleanup contractor were using a vacuum truck to offload containment area stormwater from the January 11, 2023, fire site. The stormwater had come into contact with a small amount of potassium permanganate, so they were loading it into a tank for proper disposal.

During this process, the hose came out of the tank for just a few seconds and sprayed the area. We estimate it sprayed 15 gallons—and 2 gallons were sprayed onto the 7th Street roadway.

The material was tested immediately and found to have a pH of around 8. At room temperature, water has a pH of 7.0. Out of an abundance of caution, the material on the road was neutralized with a solution of 3% vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide, showing a pH of 7.0. We immediately contacted the city of LaSalle, U.S. EPA, and Illinois EPA.

This is not considered hazardous. Community members should not be concerned. Continue to check for consistent updates.

Carus Completes Transfer of Tier II Materials from LaSalle Warehouse

PERU, IL (March 6, 2023) – Carus LLC finished transferring all Tier II chemical materials out of its Apollo warehouse in LaSalle and into its facility in Ottawa, completing a plan launched in spring 2022.

“Delivering on this promise is an important milestone in our relationship with our community,” said Allen Gibbs, Vice President of Operations at Carus. “We remain committed to working with our neighbors to share and protect resources in LaSalle, as well as providing peace of mind.”

To enhance the safety of the LaSalle community, Carus has also upgraded the Apollo Warehouse safety and security.

Carus continues to work with the City of LaSalle, Illinois EPA, and other regulatory agencies to ensure the Apollo Warehouse is operated in accordance with regulatory guidelines and safety standards.

Carus LLC Resumes Catalyst Operations at LaSalle Plant

PERU, IL (February 17, 2023 3:00 pm) – Carus LLC resumed production of CARULITE® catalysts out of its LaSalle, IL plant the week of February 13th, nearly one month after a fire located in another area of the property.             

CARULITE catalysts are used for breathable air purification, emission air purification, and process air purification. Specific applications include the destruction of carbon monoxide, ozone, and ethylene oxide as well as the removal of certain compounds and odors.

Carus LLC Working with Neighbors on Continued Cleanup

PERU, IL (January 30, 2023 3:00 pm) – Carus LLC is working with neighbors on continued cleanup efforts in the community following a January 11 fire at the Carus manufacturing plant in LaSalle. Since the fire, the Carus community hotline has served 240 residents.

Many hotline calls have focused on property damage that occurred on the day of the fire. On January 25, Carus launched a new community resource to expedite property assessments and insurance claims for homeowners in the surrounding community. Residents are encouraged to call the community hotline at 815-224-6662 or visit for more information.

“The fire created some challenges, but we have much to be thankful for,” said Andy Johnston, President and CEO. “First and foremost, everyone is safe. The fire department and emergency responders did an incredible job. They took quick action to keep everyone safe.”

He explained that Carus employees have stepped up in creative ways to support the community. “We are incredibly proud of our team members who have taken on additional responsibilities like answering calls on the community hotline.” He added that many Carus employees are working long hours to support the community and customers, and to help rebuild the plant.

The ongoing safety of the community remains the top priority for Carus. Aside from potential property damage, hotline calls have focused on air quality, health concerns and safety of animals and livestock. Carus has compiled a list of third-party resources and experts to support these inquiries, and more information is available at

Residents have also expressed concern about the cause of the fire and what can be done to avoid a similar incident in the future. The State Fire Marshal conducted a preliminary investigation and found the cause of the fire undetermined with no evidence of suspicious activity.

“It’s important that we all understand how this fire started. We have engaged a third-party consultant who specializes in root cause analysis for these types of incidents. They are conducting a thorough investigation of the fire and we expect preliminary results in the coming weeks,” said Allen Gibbs, Vice President of Operations. He added that Carus is committed to finding the root cause to prioritize the health and safety of employees, customers and the communities served.

Carus has been producing potassium permanganate for over 100 years and has enjoyed over a century of growth and success in Illinois’ Starved Rock Country.

UPDATE (January 27, 2023 3:00 pm)

Carus Installs Temporary Steam Generator and Boiler to Reduce Noise

Carus is bringing in a temporary steam generator to reduce noise around the plant and continue operations while the company repairs pipes damaged in the January 11 fire. 

The main water boiler survived the fire in operational condition and is safe to use, but there is some repair work at the plant required. The temporary boiler is better suited for the short-term decrease in manufacturing activity, and it will expedite production, alleviate excess noise, and produce less emissions than the permanent boiler.

To reduce impact on neighbors, Carus requested a special permit from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to bring in a smaller and quieter boiler until repairs are complete.

Carus is committed to doing the right thing and working with our neighbors throughout the recovery process.

UPDATE (January 25, 2023 11:00 am)

Many calls to the Carus community hotline have focused on property damage that occurred on the day of the fire. On January 25, Carus launched a new community resource to expedite property assessments and insurance claims for homeowners in the surrounding community. 

UPDATE (January 23, 2023 9:00 am)

Notice of Force Majeure Event at Carus LLC, Impacting Potassium and Sodium Permanganate Supply Only

On January 11, 2023, Carus LLC experienced a fire at the LaSalle warehouse, which resulted in significant damage. Fortunately, all Carus employees and emergency personnel are safe and accounted for.

State and federal regulators and first responders responded very quickly and the Fire Chief has turned the facility back over to Carus.

We are declaring force majeure as we believe it will be impossible for Carus to fulfill all orders for potassium and sodium permanganate for approximately the next 90 days. We will keep you informed as we get more information. To be clear, Carus is currently unable to comply with the terms of applicable contracts due to this event of force majeure, including but not limited to supply and notice provisions.

Please rest assured that we are doing everything in our power to address this issue as soon as possible. We will continue to share updates as they become available, particularly with respect to timing of our return to production, which at this time remains uncertain.

Carus LLC Resumes Phosphate Operations at LaSalle Plant

PERU, IL (January 20, 2023 2:00 pm) – Carus LLC resumed production and shipping of phosphates out of its LaSalle plant on January 18, just six days after a fire in another area of the property.

“It is great to be making and shipping phosphates at our LaSalle plant again. It is back to ‘business as usual’ for phosphates thanks to the great teamwork and resourcefulness of Carus employees,” said Carus LLC President and CEO Andy Johnston “I would also like to thank our customers for their support and patience over the last few days.”

Carus phosphates are used for corrosion control in potable and industrial water systems. These products help clean, maintain and extend the life of system infrastructure including mains, service lines, valves, meters and household plumbing.


Carus LLC Leads Community Cleanup After January 11 Fire

PERU, IL (January 18, 2023 5:30 pm) – Carus LLC partnered with a local car wash to sponsor community car washes on January 12 and January 13. The company has also partnered with local power washing crews to clean properties impacted by the January 11 fire at the Carus manufacturing facility in LaSalle, Ill.

Just hours after the fire began, Carus established a community hotline for neighbors. Members of the community are invited to call 815-224-6662 with questions or concerns related to the fire. Carus employees are answering calls, providing support and offering complimentary car washes and power washing services.

“Carus team members have answered almost 250 phone calls,” said Lyndsay Bliss, Vice President of Human Resources. “We are working diligently to respond to everyone in a timely manner, and we are committed to helping our neighbors.”

Carus has donated 42 car washes to community members so far. Late last week, the company hosted two community car washes. Carus employees were on site to greet neighbors and answer questions as locals came to get their vehicles cleaned. The hotline team also delivered car wash tokens to neighbors who were unable to attend the car wash events.

The hotline team has also connected with neighbors who need power washing services at their homes. Power washing work began on January 16. Both car wash and power washing services are available to residents free of charge. Anyone still in need of cleanup is encouraged to call the Carus community hotline at 815-224-6662.

“It is inspiring to see everyone come together in the wake of this fire,” said LaSalle Mayor Jeff Grove. “I am impressed that Carus is acting so quickly to clean up the neighborhood, and I am happy to see other local businesses rally to support these efforts as we all rebound together. This is a testament to the strength of our community.”

As cleanup efforts begin, Carus continues to partner with the City of LaSalle, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, LaSalle County Health Department and others to prioritize the health and safety of residents.

UPDATE (January 18, 2023 4:30 pm)

The U.S. EPA partnered with the Illinois EPA and the City of LaSalle to address frequently asked questions following the January 11 fire.

Carus LLC Thanks First Responders, Community for Support in Wake of Fire

PERU, IL (January 13, 2023 5:00 pm) – Carus LLC would like to thank first responders and partner agencies for taking quick action to keep the community safe during and after the January 11 fire at the Carus manufacturing facility in LaSalle, Ill.

The LaSalle Fire Department, LaSalle Police Department, Peru Fire Department and Peru Police Department were among the first on the scene. Several area fire departments joined emergency response efforts, along with the City of LaSalle, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, LaSalle County Health Department, LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Department of Natural Resources, among others.

Local businesses and community members stepped up immediately to support first responders and Carus employees. “The support from our neighbors has been absolutely amazing,” said Communications Manager JoLynn Anzelc. “Within the first few hours, Hy-Vee, Lou’s LaGrotto and Bean Box provided food and drinks, and several other restaurants and businesses donated food and drinks throughout the week. Thank you to Beck’s, Bruce and Ollie’s, Casey’s, Cintas, Dresbach’s, Flo’s on Pulaski, Pizzas by Marchelloni’s and the Salvation Army for your support during this time.”

Carus was founded over 100 years ago in LaSalle and continues to operate in the same community today. “We are committed to rebuilding the plant and helping neighbors following the fire,” said Andy Johnston, President and CEO. “We are grateful to be part of this incredible community, and we look forward to a strong future in LaSalle and Peru for many years to come.”

Carus has established a community hotline and neighbors are invited to call 815-224-6662 with questions. The Carus community hotline will be accepting calls from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday, January 14 and will reopen again at 9 am on Monday, January 16. All voicemails will be returned as soon as possible.

UPDATE (January 13, 2023 2:30 pm)

Carus has been made aware of one injury resulting from the January 11 fire. A third-party contractor who was onsite during the incident later sought medical attention. LaSalle Fire Chief Jerry Janick previously reported one firefighter was injured but treated and released. We are not aware of any other injuries at this time.

UPDATE (January 13, 2023 12:30 pm)

For those in the community whose cars have been impacted by this situation, Carus will have employees staged at Precision Car Wash (17 3rd St. La Salle, IL 61301) from 3-6pm today handing out car wash tokens. If you are not available for the car wash token distribution, please call the Hotline at 815-224-6662 to make arrangements.

UPDATE (January 12, 2023 6:00 pm)

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has provided guidance on precautions to take for animals impacted by the fire.

Carus LLC Focusing on Community Cleanup in Wake of Fire

PERU, IL (January 12, 2023 5:00 pm) – In the aftermath of the January 11 fire at the LaSalle, Ill. manufacturing facility, Carus LLC is working with local first responders, government officials and regulatory groups to guide community cleanup efforts. “The continued health and safety of our employees, the first responders and members of the local community remains the top priority for Carus and our partners as we navigate this next phase,” said Allen Gibbs, Carus LLC Vice President of Operations.

The fire started at about 9 am CST on January 11 in the warehouse area of the Carus manufacturing plant, and first responders had it under control by Noon. “We want to express our gratitude to the LaSalle Fire Department, City of LaSalle, area first responders and regulatory agencies for taking quick action to keep the community safe.”

Carus employees and contractors were all safe and accounted for shortly after emergency responders arrived onsite, and as of 12:30 pm CST today the LaSalle Fire Department turned the site back over to Carus. As cleanup efforts begin, Carus will work with the U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA along with other regulatory groups for guidance on cleanup efforts.

It is important for members of the community to have the most accurate, updated information. Carus has established a community hotline and neighbors are invited to call 815-224-6662 with questions. Carus is partnering with local carwashes and other contractors to support community cleanup efforts, and more information will be shared on the Carus website and Facebook as it becomes available.

UPDATE (January 12, 2023 2:30 pm)

For those in the community whose cars have been impacted by this situation, Carus will have employees staged at Precision Car Wash (17 3rd St. La Salle, IL 61301) from 3-6pm today handing out car wash tokens. If you are not available for the car wash token distribution, please call the Hotline at 815-224-6662 to make arrangements.

UPDATE (January 11, 2023 5:30 pm)

Carus has established a hotline for members of the community. We welcome questions at 815-224-6662.

Carus LLC Confirms Fire Under Control at Plant

PERU, IL (January 11, 2023 1:00 pm) – The fire at the Carus, LLC manufacturing facility in LaSalle, Illinois today is under control, according to LaSalle Fire Chief, Jerry Janick. The fire occurred in the shipping area of the plant during regular operations around 9 this morning. As a precaution, LaSalle Fire Department has called for a voluntary shelter in place for those living within a three-block radius of the plant.

According to Carus Vice President of Operations, Allen Gibbs, all Carus employees are safe and accounted for, “We are thankful everyone is safe, and we are also grateful to the LaSalle Fire Department and crews from the surrounding area who responded to address this situation to keep the area safe.” He added, “Carus’ priority is to protect the health and safety of the employees, emergency personnel who are responding to this fire and the nearby community.”

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