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Published March 11, 2014, 06:17 PM

Ethanol plant cleaning up after massive explosion

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -Cleanup is underway in Fergus Falls after a massive explosion and fire tears through a large ethanol plant.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, N.D. (WDAY TV) -Cleanup is underway in Fergus Falls after a massive explosion and fire tears through a large ethanol plant.

The blaze broke out around 4 Monday afternoon in the dryer and fire crews have been working ever since to try to determine a cause and to make sure everything is safe before the business can reopen.

Here at Green Plains Otter Tail, it's really difficult to see all of the extensive damage from this far away, but fire officials tell me when you get close up, it's a completely different story.

Mark Hovland, Fergus Falls Fire chief: “Two story metal building and there's tin blown off from parts of it. There's structural damage to the inside, there's a big dryer cylinder in there with some ducting and that ducting blew apart. So there was a significant explosion inside that building.”

You can clearly make out signs of the fire then explosion that blasted through these buildings around 4 Monday afternoon.

Calling in four different departments with more than 50 firefighters to battle the blaze, but fortunately, not causing any injuries.

Hovland: “Right now it's just a matter of making the scene safe as much as we can and formulating a plan so we can make entry and get the cause of this determined.”

Fire crews stayed through the night and still have personnel on scene in standby mode, monitoring hot spots and waiting for investigator while the ethanol plant remains closed.

Hovland: “There's a lot of things to put together. It's not just flipping a switch and going back to business.”

That can't happen until investigators, engineers, and insurance agents arrive to figure out the cause, damage and repair estimates and a date this business can safely open again.

Company officials would not go on camera but say Green Plains Otter Tail employs 43 people in Fergus Falls.

Even though the plant is closed, they're not planning any layoffs and everyone scheduled to work today showed up.

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