Explosion at Illinois ethanol plant injures three employees

By Holly Jessen | April 12, 2011

Three Abengoa Bioenergy employees were injured, one with serious, but non-life threatening burns, after an explosion. The accident happened at the 88 MMgy Abengoa ethanol plant in Madison, Ill.

The Madison Fire Department was contacted about the flash fire in a maintenance shed at about 9 a.m. on April 11, said Jeffery Bridick, fire chief. The fire had burned out by the time the fire department got there. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration office in Fairview Heights Illinois was contacted and the investigation is ongoing. “I can only say that the container, a ‘plastic tote’ was being filled with a substance used in ethanol production at the time of the explosion,” Bridick said. “I cannot say for certain what was in the tote previously or what substance was being placed inside. This is under investigation.”

Two of the employees received minor burns to the head and neck and were transported to a hospital in Illinois. The most seriously injured employee was burned on his lower extremities and was transported to St. John's Mercy Burn Center in Creve Coeur, Mo., for treatment.