No injuries reported in fire at Penford Products

Fire started in a corn germ dryer; firefighters were on the scene for over four hours Wednesday

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CEDAR RAPIDS – No one was injured after a blaze at Penford Products that kept firefighters on scene for over four hours Wednesday.

Firefighters were dispatched around 11:30 a.m. to Penford Products, 1001 First St. SW, for a fire in a corn germ dryer. The dryer was on the second floor and roof of Building 5. An employee reportedly smelled smoke, and another employee witnessed flames coming out of an expansion joint on the duct work that extends from the dryer.

Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire within 30 minutes of arrival; but there was an additional fire that extended into the horizontal duct work. Authorities said there is “high air flow” above the dryer, and it is likely that dust and corn product started burning within the duct work.

It took several hours for firefighters to gain access to the ductwork through inspection doors to extinguish the fire.

Officials said Penford Products employees, and their emergency response team, worked alongside firefighters to mitigate the fire, and used the snuff steam system to ultimately extinguish the burning product within the duct work.

There was no structural damage to the building, officials said. However, components of the duct work will need to be cleaned and replaced.

Corn germ contains corn oil which can ignite under certain conditions, officials said.

Crews were on scene until around 3 p.m. Wednesday. The exact cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.

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