As many as 15 people were injured and nearby residents were forced to flee their homes when an explosion triggered a massive fire at a Marengo, Iowa, biodiesel plant yesterday morning.
Former Heartland Crush Soybean Factory Now Operated by C6-Zero
The blast erupted at approximately 11:20 a.m. CST in a former soybean processing facility located at 810 E South Street. According to media reports, the plant is owned by Heartland Crush but is now operated by a company called C6-Zero, which converts used roofing shingles into biodiesel and other products.
The resulting fire continued to burn into the evening and sent clouds of thick black smoke billowing across the town of Marengo, located about 90 miles east of De Moines.
Multiple agencies within a 30-to-50-mile radius responded to the disaster.
10-15 People Treated for Explosion-Related Injuries
Around 30 workers were inside the plant when the explosion erupted. While all were accounted for, the University Hospitals & Clinics confirmed that at least 10-15 patients were being treated for minor to moderate explosion-related injuries, including cuts, scrapes, trauma, and burns.
Marengo residents in an eight-block radius were evacuated from their homes but have since been allowed to return.
“This was a hazmat situation. This is a biofuel plant, from my understanding. With that, we look at what is possibly in there, we try and figure out what chemicals are there,” Iowa State Trooper Bob Conrad told local media outlet KCCI. “Look at the hazmat guide and say, ‘OK we want to evacuate these people.”
Combustible Dust Among Potential Explosion Triggers
So far, it’s not known what caused yesterday’s explosion, which remains under investigation.
However, T. Renée Anthony, director of the Great Plains Center of Agricultural Health at the University of Iowa, told the De Moines Register that dust can be a source of fires in grain handling and manufacturing facilities.
“A lot of agricultural products do have combustible dust of concern,” she said, pointing to the Imperial Sugar explosion that killed 14 Georgia workers in 2008.
Heartland Crush opened the facility in 2017.
According to the Register, the Iowa Department of Agriculture was appointed receiver of the business after complaints indicated Heartland Crush did not have a grain license. The agency later said it found about $1.1 million worth of unpaid grain at the plant.
While it’s not known if any grain was on site when the explosion erupted, the residual dust left behind by grain stores is notoriously difficult to clean.
What to Do After a Plant Explosion or Fire
If you or a loved one were hurt in connection with the Marengo, Iowa plant explosion or any other industrial disaster, it’s essential to understand that you cannot count on your employer to take care of you, regardless of what they might promise. The fact is, your actions in the days and weeks that follow will determine whether you’re fully and fairly compensated for all your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain or limited to a small amount of workers’ compensation benefits that won’t come close to covering the damages you could be awarded by filing a personal injury lawsuit:
To ensure your rights to the maximum compensation possible are protected, it’s critical that you:
- Immediately notify your employer of your injury.
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if you think you weren’t hurt or your injuries appear minor.
- Write down everything you remember, including the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Preserve any evidence in your possession, including the clothes you were wearing. Don’t clean or launder anything, and seal all items in a clean plastic bag.
- Never provide a recorded statement for the company’s insurance carrier, no matter how much they pressure you.
- Don’t sign anything or accept any money other than your regular paycheck.
- Don’t discuss the explosion or injuries with anyone other than your spouse and attorney, and don’t post anything related to the incident on social media.
- Demand the medical care of your choice, comply with all medical advice, and be sure to attend all follow-up appointments related to your injuries.
- Speak with an experienced explosion attorney with a proven track record of success.
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If you or someone you love were hurt in connection with the Marengo biodiesel plant explosion, our attorneys are ready to help. Please call 1-888-603-3636 or click here to fill out our confidential contact form.
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