Two hospitalized after explosion
KALONA — Kalona Fire Chief Steve Yotty said today that he believes a methane explosion was the cause of the blaze in a hog confinement that required two workers to be hospitalized.
Kalona Fire and QRS, Washington Fire, Wellman Fire, Washington County Ambulance, Washington County Rescue and the Washington County Sheriff’s office all responded shortly before 10 a.m. today to a hog confinement in the 1500 block of Larch Avenue, rural Washington. Yotty said Rob and Tim Brenneman of Brenneman Pork Farms own the confinement.
“We think (the workers) were power washing the pit and a heater turned on or something happened that caused a spark,” Yotty said.
The two injured workers had been transported prior to the Kalona Fire Department arriving on scene, so Yotty had no condition report.
He said the fire was contained to the pit area on the south side of the building. On arrival Yotty said that fire crews knocked down the fire into the pit and then used foam to extinguish the fire. He does not have a damage estimate, but said that flooring, feeders and part of the vent system had been damaged in the blaze.
“It is dangerous to go inside a building of that kind on fire,” he said. “This was a bit different than the usual situation.”
He said that no hogs were lost in the fire, as most of them were on the north end of the building at the time of the explosion.
Yotty also said that the state fire marshal’s office would not be investigating the fire, because the cause of the fire seems to have been determined.
“It was not as bad as it could have been,” Yotty said.