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Kalona fire scene becomes oil spill site

After fire at a former fertilizer plant, crews found engine oil and were scrambling to prevent it from killing wildlife and contaminating water.
fire truck

What started as a fire at a former Iowa fertilizer plant turned into an oil spill.

KCRG reported that on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 the old Vel-Donna Plant (which now holds a small business and storage space) in Kalona became engulfed in flames.

Kalona Fire Chief Steve Yotty said after an explosion was heard, the building was in flames.

It took crews more than two hours to get the fire under control. The fire had been fueled by drums of tractor and truck engine oil that was stored inside the building.

According to the report, once the fire was extinguished crews noticed engine oil was covering the ground and floating in puddles. Iowa conservationists were concerned that oil could wash into the nearby English River.

“It’s going to kill fish, kill aquatic life, and soak in the ground, a potential groundwater contamination. That sort of thing,” said Paul Brandt with the Iowa DNR.

On the bright side, the frigid cold has helped keep the oil from flowing and has made it pool in ditches. Brandt said this buys cleanup crews more time before it becomes a problem.

The cause of the fire was unknown no injuries were reported.

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