Huge Explosion at Iowa Plant Causes Fire, Numerous Injuries

A massive fire at an Iowa facility that formerly was a soybean processing plant and now is a recycling facility for roofing shingles left up to 15 people injured.

The fire erupted Thursday at the CG-Zero plant in Marengo with about 30 people in the building. Between 10 and 15 people were taken to local hospitals, according to UPI.

Marengo Police Chief Ben Gray said Friday one person remained hospitalized, according to the Des Moines Register.

An evacuation order was issued Thursday due to the thick smoke from the fire, but by late Thursday, residents were being allowed back into their homes.

Iowa County Sheriff Rob Rotter said two explosions took place, one at about 11:20 a.m. and the second about 45 minutes later, according to The Gazette.

The fire was extinguished at about 4 a.m. Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Rotter said he believed that either solvents or fuel were linked to the start of the fire, noting that a similar fire had taken place earlier in the fall.

“This was a much larger version of that,” he said. “Right now, they’re just containing it.”

In a post on his department’s Facebook page, Rotter praised the first responders who “battled a blaze that was likely the most dangerous fire many of them will ever fight.”

“How can these men and women be properly thanked? How can all the responders at the scene, and in support of the scene, be thanked? How can we show gratitude to all the people who supplied food, and water, and other provisions? If I try to name individuals, departments, agencies, and businesses, I will no doubt leave someone out,” he wrote.

Noting that more than 300 people responded to fight the fire or help those affected by it, Rotter had a request.

“I would ask that everyone who reads this, please consider the people who care enough to be there when help is needed. If these people didn’t show up in times of need, who would? Thank you all, for the incredible work you did. May God Bless Each of You,” he wrote.

The building is owned by Heartland Crush, which used the plant as a soybean mill. A company called C6-Zero is now in that space, according to the Des Moines Register. On its website, C6-Zero talks about recycling asphalt shingles.

“C6-Zero’s proprietary process remanufactures petroleum used in asphalt shingles to produce a biofuel like no other that directly aids the environment and enables other companies to participate in the Circular Economy that reduces climate change,” the site said.

The company issued a statement about the fire.

“C6-Zero experienced an explosion and fire inside its facility in Marengo on Thursday. At this time, our focus is on our employees and their families affected by this accident and ensuring they receive the appropriate care and support. We are working with appropriate local officials, and are deeply grateful to the many firefighters, first responders and hospital staff who worked tirelessly to safeguard our employees and our neighbors in the community over the past 18 hours,” the company said Friday in a statement, according to KWWL-TV.

Marengo is about 25 miles southwest of Cedar Rapids.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.