Chemical plant executive apologizes for June fire

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ROCKFORD, Ill. - The head of a northern Illinois chemical plant is apologizing to residents for a fire this summer and says cleanup efforts are underway.

Nova-Kem CEO and President Reno Novak spoke during a community meeting Tuesday evening in Seward, telling residents he's "really sorry."

The June 2 explosion caused a 24-hour evacuation of the town of about 300 people 18 miles west of Rockford.

Firefighters couldn't use water to douse the blaze, because it'd create a violent reaction with the chemical produced at the plant.

Novak says authorities are still working to determine what caused the explosion and fire, but says it was likely caused by a control system failure that released the chemical that sparked the blaze.

Novak says he's evaluating whether to rebuild on the site or move elsewhere.

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