Paris, KS – Firefighters from five departments responded to a fire and explosion Wednesday afternoon at an animal feed manufacturing facility.
Kansas Fire Chief Kirk Allen said no one was injured by the incident, which destroyed a break-room trailer and a metal building. He said Kansas firefighters were dispatched at approximately 2:15 p.m. to the fire at the Robert Morgan Inc. facility along Illinois Route 49 north of town.
We saw the explosion as we got to the north side of Kansas, Allen said. He added smoke from the facility was visible from as far away as Arcola to the west.
Firefighters from Ashmore, Brocton, Oakland and Paris also were called to the scene. Allen said they extinguished the fire within 15-20 minutes of arriving and left the scene by 5:30 p.m.
Allen said the fire appears to have been started by a space heater in the break-room trailer igniting a propane leak. He said the fire spread from the trailer to an adjacent metal building, where dust was present from the grinding of a vegetable base into animal feed.
I think the main explosion was probably a dust explosion, Allen said.
Firefighters were able to keep the fire contained to the metal building and away from another building and grain silos, Allen said. The explosion shot debris into nearby farm fields that had already been harvested of their flammable crops, he said.
We got lucky on that one, Allen said.
The manufacturing facilitys two employees were able to get clear of the two structures before the explosion occurred, Allen said. No employees or firefighters were injured during the incident, he said.
Management personnel at Paris-based Robert Morgan Inc. could not be reached for comment.