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  • Ethanol Plant-Minnesota

    BENSON, Minn. (AP) - An explosion and fire rocked a plant where
    corn is turned into ethanol Wednesday, killing one worker and
    injuring another man, officials said.
    Robert Olson, 20, was working near a storage tank filled with
    40,000 gallons of corn mash when it exploded at Chippewa Valley
    Ethanol Co., authorities said.
    The tank was thrown about 75 feet and landed on a tanker truck
    filled with ethanol, causing the fire.
    Firefighters from 11 surrounding towns fought the blaze and
    pumped water on rail cars to keep them cool, Sheriff Kenneth Hanson
    said.
    Troy Leonard was taken to a hospital with acid burns, according
    to a hospital spokesman. He was reported in fair condition.
    Authorities did not know what caused the storage tank to
    explode. The blast occurred in the part of the plant where corn is
    turned into mash, which is later processed into ethanol.
    About 40 people work at the plant, which also produces alcohol
    used for vodka and products such as hair spray and mouthwash. Olson
    was a contractor with Lundin Construction of Hanley Falls.
    Gary Klemm, who works at a nearby plant, said he saw the
    explosion demolish the storage tank.
    "I was coming down the road and I saw the top blow right off,"
    Klemm said.
    Benson is about 120 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Chippewa Valley Ethanol: http://www.cvec.com/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  • #2
    BENSON, Minn. (AP) - A fatal explosion at an ethanol plant was
    apparently touched off when a welder cut into the roof of a storage
    tank containing a flammable vapor, a state investigator said
    Thursday.
    There was no evidence of criminal intent in the blast and fire
    Wednesday at the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Plant near Benson. "It's
    an industrial accident," said Rick Kleis, the chief fire
    investigator for the state fire marshal.
    The welder, Robert Olson, was killed. A plant worker, Troy
    Leonard, was hospitalized in fair condition Thursday with acid
    burns.
    The storage tank, which held 40,000 gallons of corn mash, was
    thrown about 75 feet and landed on a tanker truck filled with
    ethanol, which caused the fire.
    Kleis said the plant had checked the 50-foot-tall storage tank
    for hazards about 14 to 16 hours before Olson, 20, began working on
    it Wednesday morning.
    It wasn't immediately clear why the air inside the tanker wasn't
    checked closer to the time Olson began working. "Typically it
    would be done the day that they do the cutting, not the day
    before," Kleis said.
    The Minnesota office of the Occupational Safety and Health
    Administration was investigating the explosion, spokesman James
    Honerman said.
    Honerman said the agency had not received any safety complaints
    about the Benson plant since 1998, when OSHA cited the facility for
    seven serious safety violations, including two for lack of
    procedures in areas with flammable liquids. Chippewa Valley was
    fined a total of $3,500 for the seven violations, but the penalty
    was cut in half under an agreement with OSHA.
    The plant manager, Bill Lee, declined to talk about the
    investigation. He said the plant, which has 44 employees, was fully
    staffed Thursday, but that it would be two or three weeks before it
    resumed normal production.
    "We're still in shock, there's no other thing to say," Lee
    said. "But we're dealing with the practical things we know we have
    to do."
    A phone number for Olson's employer, Lundin Construction, was
    disconnected Thursday.
    Kleis said the plant had hired Lundin Construction to modify the
    tank so it could be loaded from the top instead of the bottom.
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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