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Mechanical failure to blame for ethanol plant fire

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - Investigators determined that a mechanical failure caused a fire and explosion Monday afternoon at an ethanol plant in Fergus Falls.

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. - Investigators determined that a mechanical failure caused a fire and explosion Monday afternoon at an ethanol plant in Fergus Falls.

A hydraulic pump that controls the damper in the dryer building of the Green Plains Renewable Energy plant failed Monday afternoon, according to a statement released Wednesday from Fergus Falls Fire Chief Mark Hovland.

The failure caused higher than normal temperatures in an attached chamber where hazardous emissions are destroyed. A fire started in the chamber, and smoke from the fire was drawn into the dryer building, causing a smoke explosion.

The explosion tore apart the building, Hovland said earlier this week.

No one was injured in the fire or subsequent explosion.

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Green Plains officials are still assessing the damage, which plant manager Anthony Hicks said is "significant," but no dollar amount was given.

The plant, which produces corn-based ethanol, corn oil and distiller's grains, has been in operation since 2008.

Related Topics: FIRES
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