An explosion and fire at the Innovative Production USA food processing plant in Galesburg, IL on Friday morning left two firefighters with injuries. Crews were dispatched to the West 6th Street facility at about 9:30 a.m. after receiving a report that a dryer bin and material inside it were ablaze, the Galesburg Fire Department said in a press release.
Upon arrival, fire personnel observed “white pressurized smoke” coming from a tower on the plant’s roof. Two firefighters were injured in a blast as they were moving a water hose into position after arriving at the scene.
“Capt. Brock Schmitt and FF Andrew O’Daniel advanced an attack line to the top of the bin on a catwalk to attack the fire from the top of the bin opening. Before they could get into position, there was an explosion, knocking down both Schmitt and O’Daniel,” Galesburg Fire Chief Randy Hovind said in a post on the Galesburg Firefighters Association Facebook page.
“The explosion could be seen from the outside of the structure and actually blew off several metal ventilation panels,” Chief Hovind said.
Following the explosion, firefighters inside the structure moved outside and doused the flames within 15 minutes. Fire officials said the building received heavy smoke and fire damage during the incident. O’Daniel and Schmitt were transported to an area hospital for an evaluation of minor injuries.
Reports and the Fire Department’s release did not indicate whether the incident was dust-related or not. The Galesburg Fire Department and the State Fire Marshall’s Office are conducting an investigation into the cause of the explosion and fire.
Innovative Production USA is owned and operated by functional ingredient manufacturing company RIBUS Inc. and plant-based proteins and specialty ingredients firm Innovative Proteins USA. The companies purchased the facility in Galesburg from J. Rettenmaier USA LP this April. RIBUS said this May. RIBUS said that renovation work would be carried out prior to the start of operations there. The site will produce ingredients for the food and dietary supplement industries.