At least 10 people injured in explosion at grain elevator facility in Iowa
MARENGO, Iowa (KCRG/Gray News) - At least 10 people were injured Thursday and nearby homes have been evacuated following an explosion at processing facility in Iowa.
Witnesses said it happened at around 11:15 a.m. local time. The building is a grain elevator and soybean-crusher facility owned by Heartland Crush, according to property records. The facility is operated by C6-Zero, a company that converts used roofing shingles into biodiesel and other products.
Flames continued to be visible from the building for hours, with a large plume of smoke emanating from the building that was visible at long distances.
Around 30 people were inside at the time of the incident, according to officials. As of mid-afternoon, 10 to 15 people were reported hurt, but there were no fatalities. Some of the injured had already been treated and released.
Officials from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics said that they were operating in their procedures for a “mass casualty event” and were standing by until the fire was extinguished.
Several medical helicopters were dispatched to the scene, along with multiple fire departments.
Officials have evacuated several nearby homes and are urging people to avoid being outside due to the smoke. Residents who were evacuated were told they could go to the Iowa County Transportation Building.
There was no timeline on when people would be allowed back to their homes because of the air quality concerns and the potential for additional explosions at the plant.
The fire was difficult to extinguish, according to officials, because of the materials in the plant. Firefighters were using foam to douse the flames.
The City of Marengo said that water in the city may have a brown color to it on Thursday because of the excess water usage by firefighters.
The facility has been in operation in Marengo since 2017.
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