POSTVILLE, Iowa â€” A small explosion led to a fire early today at the Industrial Laminates/Norplex Inc. processing plant in the 600 block of Lybrand Street, injuring three.
Postville Fire Chief Jeffrey J. Bohr said authorities were notified about 1:20 a.m. today of an explosion with injuries. The fire was in the southeast corner of the plant.
Bohr said one person was critically, injured and was airlifted to the burn unit at University Hospitals in Iowa City. Another person suffered minor injuries, was taken to a local hospital and later released, and the third person refused treatment.
Plant manager Alan Johnson said those injured were employees.
“We are waiting for further updates” as to the status of the burned employee, Johnson said in a statement. “Our prayers are with our employees and their families.”
Bohr said firefighters put out some smaller fires and building personnel shut down gas valves, boilers and valves to prevent transfer the explosive materials. The explosion activated the plantâ€™s spinkler system and emergency alarms, which helped suppress the fire and keep it from spreading, he said.
The damage estimate was listed as between $5 million and $7 million.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office has been called in to investigate.