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Fire burns conveyor belt, grain at Bushmills Ethanol plant

Emergency vehicles are pictured Wednesday after responding to a fire call at Bushmills Ethanol plant near Atwater. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

ATWATER -- Firefighters from Atwater, Grove City, Kandiyohi, Spicer and Willmar were called Wednesday to Bushmills Ethanol plant near Atwater to battle a fire in a grain conveying belt and corn bin.

According to Willmar Fire Chief Marv Calvin, who contacted the Tribune from the scene on behalf of Atwater Fire Chief Gerald Schwartz, Atwater firefighters were called to the plant to find a conveyor belt between two grain bins ablaze. The fire was extinguished at 7:30 p.m.

Crews remained on scene to extinguish a fire smoldering in the corn in one of the 750,000-bushel grain bins, Calvin said. The fire was caused after a piece of burning conveyor belt fell into the bin. The bin was nearly full, but firefighters did not anticipate having to empty it, Calvin said. That process could take more than a day.

The height of the bins is 105 feet, and firefighters were working on catwalks above the bins, Calvin said. The crews had the Willmar ladder truck extended all the way up to reach the fire.

Calvin said there was no threat to neighboring homes or travelers on nearby Highway 12.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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