Fire put out at La Crosse fuel plant after blast


November 20, 2014

LA CROSSE An explosion and fire in a storage silo at a western Wisconsin fuels plant was extinguished Wednesday after firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to other tanks.

The explosion in the 50-foot silo at Midwest Fuels in La Crosse around 7 a.m. could be felt for miles around, fire officials said.

Nearby residents were told to stay indoors while the fire burned, because of air quality concerns.

"We were concerned about exposure in case the tank failed," said fire Capt. Dan Skiles.

He said firefighters smothered the flames in the burning silo with a blanket of foam.

Firefighters sprayed water onto four other full tanks surrounded the burning silo, which contained an unknown amount of diesel fuel and asphalt, Skiles said.

Firefighters were also concerned that the blaze might spread to the Hydrite Chemical Co. building next door, officials said.

"They store a lot of chemicals there and some of them are highly explosive," Skiles said.

One person was injured and transported to a La Crosse hospital, fire officials said. That person's condition was not immediately known.

La Crosse firefighters received training over the summer on handling potentially explosive fires.


Associated Press