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Grain silo explosion injures two, causes $2 million worth of damage in US

13 May 2022

An explosion in a grain silo at an ethanol plant in Illinois, US injured two workers on May 11. According to the local fire department, the incident caused an estimated $2 million (£1.6m) worth of damage to the facility which belongs to BioUrja Group.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The incident occurred at around 21:00 local time in the city of Peoria, central Illinois. The local fire department was called to the scene where they found several heavily damaged, large grain bins on fire. Two employees at the BioUrja plant were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital before being discharged later.

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) attended the scene and would conduct an investigation, a spokesman for BioUrja told journalists. The spokesman said that while the cause of the blast is unknown, the incident happened after one of the grain silos imploded and caused a fire which then resulted in a series of further explosions.

The facility was shut down following the incident and will remain closed until OSHA and other local officials have finished their investigation. The fire department said that while it was able to extinguish an initial fire, it was unable to prevent one of the grain silos from collapsing. Three more silos suffered partial collapse and are leaning over.

As of May 17, firefighters continued to monitor a smouldering fire at the scene and said that the continued heat had weakened the remaining structures and could cause further explosions. The Peoria fire department said that an early estimation of the damage caused by the explosion is around $2 million.

BioUrja, an energy and agricultural commodity trading and supply company, purchased the Peoria facility from grain merchant Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM) in 2021. The plant has a capacity to produce around 135 million gallons of ethanol a year.

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