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2 injured after explosion at ethanol plant

An explosion at the Poet Biorefining plant, 15300 780th Ave., south of Albert Lea, injured two people early Sunday morning. Authorities are still investigating the cause. - Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea  Tribune

An explosion at the Poet Biorefining plant, 15300 780th Ave., south of Albert Lea, injured two people early Sunday morning. Authorities are still investigating the cause. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

GLENVILLE — Two people were injured early Sunday morning after an explosion at the Poet Biorefining plant near Glenville.

The employees were transported by ambulance to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea for burns and have since been released, according to Poet General Manager Steve McNinch. Two others who were on duty at the time were not injured.

The report of the explosion came into authorities at about 3:20 a.m., according to a release.

The employees were treated at the scene before being transported to the hospital. The names of the injured were not released.

The release said the building sustained damage, though further details about what might have caused the explosion and what part of the building the explosion occurred have not been released.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating.

A barricade blocks off the entrance to Poet Biorefining Sunday afternoon after an explosion was reported there earlier in the day. - Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

A barricade blocks off the entrance to Poet Biorefining Sunday afternoon after an explosion was reported there earlier in the day. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

“The first priority was the people this morning and then figure out what happened, then go from there,” McNinch said.

He said he anticipates the business to be down as the building is repaired — though he does not anticipate it will be too severe.

McNinch thanked the Glenville Fire Department and Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office for their quick response.

Other agencies assisting at the scene were Gold Cross Ambulance, Hayward Fire Department, Myrtle Fire Department, Albert Lea Township Fire Department, Freeborn County Emergency Management, Albert Lea Police Department and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Poet produces 42 million gallons of ethanol annually. The production uses approximately 15 million bushels of corn from the region, according to the company’s website.

Look to the Tribune for more information as it becomes available.