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At least 10 people injured after Marengo building explosion, fire


MARENGO, Iowa (KCRG) – At least 10 people have been injured and nearby homes were evacuated following an explosion at an industrial building in Marengo on Thursday morning.

According to the City of Marengo, the explosion took place at 11:16 a.m. at 810 East South Street. The building is owned by Heartland Crush, according to property records, but 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 and visible at long distances.

As of 7:05 p.m. on Thursday, the fire was not yet extinguished.

Around 30 people were inside at the time of the incident, according to officials, all of which have been accounted for. As of mid-afternoon on Thursday, nobody was killed in the explosion, but 10 to 15 people were hurt. Some of those injured had already been treated and released.

Most of the injured were described as “minor to moderate” by Dr. Theresa Brennan with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, with conditions that needed treatment including burns, trauma, and cuts and scrapes. One patient was classified by Brennan as falling into the more serious end of the spectrum of injuries in their procedures for a “mass casualty event.”

Family members with questions about loved ones may call UIHC at (319) 356-1616 for more information.

UIHC officials said that they were standing by until the fire was extinguished. Several medical helicopters were initially dispatched to the scene, along with multiple fire departments.

Officials evacuated several nearby homes and are urging people to avoid being outside due to the smoke. The evacuation was lifted for the affected homes around 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, though residents were still told to stay away from the area of South Street and the Iowa County Fairgrounds due to the fire.

The fire was proving difficult to extinguish, according to officials, due to the materials in the plant. Firefighters were using foam to try and douse the flames.

KCCI reports staff with Iowa Valley Community School District said the district is not impacted. They have not evacuated or canceled classes.

The City of Marengo said that water in the city may have a brown color to it on Thursday due to the excess water usage by firefighters.

The facility has been owned by Heartland Crush since 2017.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Drone video provided by Jacob Baker Hollister shows a fire burning at a grain elevator and soybean crusher facility in Marengo in Iowa County.

First responders are at the scene of a building explosion in Marengo.
First responders are at the scene of a building explosion in Marengo.(Peggy Martin)
First responders say they evacuated nearby homes after an explosion at a building in Marengo.
First responders say they evacuated nearby homes after an explosion at a building in Marengo.(Jennifer Olson)