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UPDATE: Grain bins still burning, firefighters consider demolishing silos

UPDATE: Grain bins still burning, firefighters consider demolishing silos
UPDATE: Grain bins still burning, firefighters consider demolishing silos(UPDATE: Grain bins still burning, firefighters consider demolishing silos)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:15 PM CDT
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PEORIA (Heart of Illinois ABC) - Two silos at the BioUrja renewables plant continued to burn for the 7th day on Wednesday. Fire teams on the scene were on their last attempt to put it out before having to resort to demolishing the silos.

The two grain bins at the plant exploded last Wednesday. Peoria fire department, along with other teams, exhausted all efforts to put the fire out. First water, then foaming the bottom of the silo, they began trying to smother out the flames with even more foam.

“[We’re] Working with the 3rd party company for the mitigation of the foam at the top. We’re going to start with one silo to see if it’s effective. If it’s effective then we’ll move to another,” Interim Peoria Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger said.

If the fire continued to burn - the last resort would be to demolish the plant - which could be dangerous.

“They don’t want to demo with active fire for obvious reasons. You’re going to start creating sparks and additional ignition sources. We’re trying to mitigate this as much as possible,” Sollberger said.

The plant ceased operation with the exception of trucks hauling grain out. For the grain that was meant to come in, companies like Akron suppliers have to reallocate their load.

“For the producer that wants to deliver its corn to Peoria we can’t, we have to send it somewhere else. When we send it somewhere else that leaves our contracts open at Peoria so we have to turn around when they do open and come back in and fill that,” Grain Merchandiser for Akron Alan Knobloch said.

Akron said Biourja, although important, was a relatively small plant. Refilling the contract would not be an issue.

“That’s an inconvenience at best, it’s not an earth shattering event. There’s plenty of corn to go around right now,” Knobloch said.

Akron would still have to fill their contracts with Biourja but they did not believe the explosion would not have a large impact on the national supply chain.

“In our local area it’s taking about a third of our processing away which we miss. We hope they get going quickly here but in the big US picture it’s not a dramatic situation that will affect the consumers,” Knobloch said.

Sollberger said the investigation on the cause of the fire was still underway.

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