Excerpts from nbcchicago.com:

Firefighters say that a lithium battery fire, which began to burn on Tuesday, is still smoldering in Morris, but progress has been made and officials are looking to execute new strategies to put out the blaze.

According to Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffas, the fire grew in intensity overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday, but crews were on scene throughout. The fire has died down considerably since Wednesday morning, but is still giving off toxic smoke.

Unable to use water, firefighters are using unique techniques to put out the blaze and will continue to use high flow water to help cool off the batteries, and then plan to smother it with cement.

“We’re going to cover it with cement and smother that fire,” Steffas said. “Once we put cement down, we hope that’s going to smother it.”

The use of the high flow water led to questions about water runoff, but the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has put monitors into use around Morris to ensure that water supplies remain safe, and that runoff doesn’t make its way into the nearby Illinois River. Similar devices were recently used around a chemical plant fire, which erupted in Rockton earlier this month and led to several days of evacuations around the site of the blaze.

Meanwhile, residents have been able to go back home and get things from their houses, but evacuation orders remain in place.

Hotels in the area are largely booked up, and shelters remain open. Police from surrounding communities are stationed around evacuated areas, helping block off roads and keeping non-residents from gaining access to the area.

Officials were unaware that the building contained the highly-flammable lithium ion batteries, and a disaster proclamation was issued on Wednesday to free up funds to address issues surrounding the fire.