IN Ethanol Plant Blast, Fire

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 @ 05:01 PM gHale

Investigators are looking into the cause of a fire Monday at Valero Renewable Fuels in Mt. Vernon, IN.

Fire crews rushed to the scene around 4:30 a.m. after a witness reported he heard and felt an explosion.

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Several people at least a half mile away said they felt their houses shake after hearing a loud boom.

Crews were on scene for about 3 hours. Wind chills were in the negatives while firefighters worked the scene.

There were no reported injuries.

On Aug. 26, 2014, Valero Renewable Fuels, a wholly owned subsidiary of Valero Energy Corp., and the Ports of Indiana restarted the 110 MMgy ethanol plant. Valero Renewable Fuels purchased the facility from Aventine Renewable Energy-Mt. Vernon LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings Inc., in March, 2014.

Aventine originally opened the Mount Vernon facility in April 2011, but later shut it down. When Valero purchased the plant in March, the facility had been idle for approximately two years.