Statement from Iowa Renewable Energy on recent plant fire
At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Dec. 24, a small fire began in a single piece of equipment at the Iowa Renewable Energy facility in Washington, Iowa. Ron Lutovsky, the plant’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, issued the following statement:
“Thankfully no one was seriously injured in the fire that took place at the Iowa Renewable Energy biodiesel plant this morning. We had three employees there at the time the fire began. They acted on their training and followed proper safety protocol by the book. Fire fighters arrived within minutes, containing it to one vessel before it could spread. No chemicals were released. Two of the employees were treated for minor smoke inhalation.
“We will work proactively with officials to determine the cause. We do not yet know the cost of the damage or how long the plant will be down for repairs. We are a continuous flow biodiesel facility, which means our plant normally operates around the clock.
“Biodiesel is the safest fuel to use, handle and store, but it should only be produced by trained workers in a commercial setting. I am extremely proud of our employees on site at the time, who acted on their safety training to quickly resolve the situation. The safety of our employees is our number one priority, and our workers showed their professionalism and skill in quickly and properly dealing with this situation. We are gratified to have an entire team of such dedicated workers.”
Iowa Renewable Energy has 28 employees. The plant is equipped to make 36 MMgy of biodiesel from a variety of fats and vegetable oils, including soybean oil, recycled restaurant grease and animal fat. The plant is a designated BQ-9000 facility, the biodiesel industry’s voluntary quality assurance program.