Worker Killed at Minn. Ethanol Plant Fire

An explosion and fire on Wednesday rocked a plant where corn is turned into alcohol, killing one worker.


BENSON, Minn. (AP) -- An explosion and fire on Wednesday rocked a plant where corn is turned into alcohol, killing one worker, officials said.

The blast at the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. was in an area where corn is turned into mash, which is fermented to produce ethanol, said plant general manager Bill Lee.

The victim was a contractor and not an employee of Chippewa Valley Ethanol, he said. The victim's name was not released. other workers were injured but none seriously, Lee said.

The explosion demolished a large storage tank, said Gary Klemm, who works at a nearby Swift & Co. plant.

``I was coming down the road and I saw the top blow right off,'' Klemm said. ``It went about 30 feet above the tank.''

About 40 people work at the plant, which produces 45 million gallons of ethanol a year.

The alcohol is used for fuel, vodka and products such as hair spray and mouthwash.