PEORIA, ILLINOIS, US — An explosion at the BioUrja Group dry mill ethanol plant in Peoria, Illinois, US, caused more than $2 million in damage, according to the Peoria Fire Department, which said the cause of the late-night May 11 incident remained under investigation.

Two 150-foot grain silos collapsed, and a small fire broke out in a third silo at the plant. Two employees were treated for smoke inhalation, according to Heart of Illinois ABC-TV, citing the fire department.

“Due to the severity of the incident, crews were unable to make entry to fully extinguish the fire,” said Steve Rada, battalion chief, Peoria Fire Department. “Fire crews are currently monitoring the situation from a distance due to structural issues as well as a high level of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

BioUrja Group, a Houston-based owner and operator of multiple businesses in the energy and agricultural commodities sector, acquired the ethanol plant in Peoria from ADM in October 2021. At the time of its sale, the plant, which has operated since 1982 along the Illinois River, had an ethanol capacity of 135 million gallons and employed about 150 people. The plant produces three grades of ethanol: medical grade (hand sanitizers and medical uses), beverage grade and fuel grade.