UPDATE: Official Statement Released about Bio-Energy Plant Fire

Published 07/08 2014 06:25PM

Updated 07/10 2014 01:50PM

UPDATE: An official statement from a spokesperson for Abengoa Bio-Energy was released today regarding the Mt. Vernon Fire earlier this week.

Officials say there was a small fire started inside the duct work leading to a grain bin.

There were no injuries or major damage from the fire.

The spokesperson says, "The fire is under control, the plant has remained fully operational, and there has been no impact to production."

Original Story--7/08/2014 6:25 PM-

A fire inside a corn bin at the Abengoa Ethanol plant in Posey County prompts the response of fire departments from three states. It's just the beginning of what will be a long night, fire officials said.

As of Tuesday evening, the fire was about 30% contained inside one of the the corn bins at the plant, according to an official from the state fire marshal's office. The sheer size of the bin is posting a challenge for firefighters. According to an official from the state fire marshal's office, the bin is 85 feet tall and 90 feet wide. Firefighters from Marrs Township, Mount Vernon, Vaderburgh County, Oakland City, Henderson and as far away as Shawneetown, Illinois assisted with putting out the fire. It's entirely likely the fire won't be fully contained until Wednesday at the earliest, officials said.

Officials said the 500-thousand bushel corn bin was taken down for maintenance Monday night but still had roughly 150-thousand bushels of corn left in it. A spark at the base of the bin started to heat up the contents inside, consuming more and more corn in the process, officials said. At one point, about 50-thousand bushels of corn was smoldering.

Despite the absence of huge flames, it still created a potential risk for an explosion whether it be from the dust or flammable vapors officials said. Authorities also called in crews from Alcoa in Warrick County who had a specialized foam to mitigate the hazards inside the bin. Earlier Tuesday, crews managed to carve a hole in the center of the bin to spray this specialized fire-retardant foam inside the bin.

Volunteers from the Red Cross remained on scene to help out the firefighters.

"It feels like from their perspective, we're look at Wednesday if not the following day," said Amy Canterbury. "At this point, it's unknown. We have food available through lunchtime tomorrow and the more information we get, the more food we will be providing."

Abengoa's plant manager directed Eyewitness News to the company's corporate headquarters in Spain for comment.

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