No one hurt in dust explosion at Cedar Rapids plant

Second explosion reported at plant in last eight months

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UPDATE: No injuries were reported from a small explosion Monday at a southwest Cedar Rapids manufacturing plant, authorities said.

Fire engines rushed to J. Rettenmaier USA, 725 41st Ave. Dr. SW, around 9:20 a.m. when the incident was reported. The first crew to arrive learned there had been an explosion and small fire in a dust collector, but that all fire had already been extinguished.

Cedar Rapids Fire Department spokesman Greg Buelow said damage was contained to the dust collector.

Company officials declined to comment to SourceMedia Group.

It is the second explosion reported at the plant in the last eight months. Firefighters responded to the property on Dec. 28 and extinguished flames and other hot spots near the dust collectors on the building’s roof. Minor damage was reported, but no injuries.

Buelow said particles suspended in air, inside a confined space, can combust if there is oxygen and an ignition source.

“Something even like static electricity could cause a dust explosion,” Buelow said.

Rettenmaier, a German company, uses grain byproducts to make micro-crystalline cellulose, a binder used in prescription drugs.

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