CEDAR RAPIDS – About 20 Penford Product employees have been evacuated while Cedar Rapids firefighters work to completely extinguish a fire at the plant.
According to a news release, firefighters responded to Penford Products, 1001 1st St. SW, at 1:40 p.m., after employees saw smoke coming from the roof-line of Building 70 and called 911.
Firefighters found smoke and flames when they arrived at Building 70, which is used for gluten drying in the corn wet milling process, the release said.
The firefighters and Penford’s emergency response team members went to the fourth floor of the four-story building to extinguish the fire, which was near a dryer, exhaust fan, and insulation, the release said.
The firefighters also checked hoppers for hot embers. According to the department’s Public Information Officer, Greg Buelow, firefighters were still on scene as of 3:45 p.m., as they are “methodically” going through hoppers and checking for any fire extension. They found more fire in at least one of the hoppers, he said.
Though the employees are still evacuated, no injuries were reported, Buelow said.The cause of the fire is still under investigation, the release said, and it is unknown how long Penford’s production process will be affected.