Explosion injured several at Iowa plant on Thursday

Crews have been working through the night after a building explosion in Marengo.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 12:39 PM CST
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MARENGO, Iowa (AP) — It took nearly all night, but firefighters extinguished a fire that tore through an asphalt shingle recycling plant at Marengo in east-central Iowa.

Firefighters worked until 4 a.m. Friday to extinguish the fire, Marengo Police Chief Ben Gray said. The fire broke out following an explosion at the C6-Zero plant shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday. C6-Zero recycles used asphalt shingles into biofuel.

Gray said multiple people were injured, including 5 people who were taken by ambulances to a hospital in Iowa City and others who were driven to hospitals in private vehicles. He did not have an exact count of the number of people injured, nor did he answer questions about what caused the explosion. Gray said he expected to release more information by the end of the day Friday.

Gray told the Des Moines Register that at least one person was in serious condition at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ burn unit. Iowa State Patrol Senior Trooper Bob Conrad told the Des Moines Register on Thursday that at least 30 people were in the plant when the explosion happened.

The city of Marengo also released information on the explosion. They say several persons spent the night at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, with two people reported in serious condition.

People living and working near the plant were evacuated, and residents a safe distance from the fire were urged to stay inside to avoid exposure to smoke. Those evacuated were allowed to return to their homes around 7 p.m. Thursday, Gray said.

Marengo is about 80 miles (129 kilometers) east of Des Moines.

C6-Zero released the following statement on Friday:

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.