Postville Explosion: Iowa Laminate Plant Blast Injures Three, Worker Airlifted To Hospital Burn Unit [REPORT]

By Philip Ross on June 17, 2013 4:53 PM EDT

postville explosion
A Postville explosion at a laminate plant in Iowa, much like the explosion at a chemical plant in Louisiana last week (pictured), injured three people. The cause of the blast is still under investigation. (Photo: Reuters)

A Postville explosion at a laminate plant rocked the small Iowa town Monday morning. Two people were rushed to local hospitals - one, who later had to be airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospital's Burn Unit, was in serious condition - and a third person was treated on the scene.

The Postville explosion happened around 1:15 a.m. at the Norplex Laminates plant in Postville, about 110 miles north of Iowa City. According to Newsmax Wires, upon arriving at the scene of the blast, firefighters noticed blue smoke coming out the side of the building and black smoke billowing from the roof.

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Firefighters then got busy putting out smaller fires in the building and turning off gas valves and boilers that could have sparked further explosions.

"There was a machine inside the building that exploded," Emergency Management Coordinator Chris Dahlstrom told Radio Iowa about the Postville explosion. Dahlstrom said that the building that houses the laminate plant is designed in a way that if one of the machines inside explodes, it will torpedo through the roof, and that's exactly what happened.

The laminate plant's fire sprinkler system helped quell the flames. Investigators are still looking for the cause of the Postville explosion.

The town of Postville, Iowa, made headlines back in 2008 when a police raid on a Postville meat plant ended with the arrests of 400 immigrant workers. One in five residents of Postville was deported.

According to Reuters, after the town's biggest employer, a meat-packing plant, started hiring more and more Hispanic laborers, the city's ethnic composition changed rapidly. Postville, historically a predominantly white town in eastern Iowa, became a mixed population, and police raids on businesses decimated the town, Reuters reports.  

Read more from iScience Times:

Dobbin Explosion: Terrifying Blast Destroys Texas Home, Scatters Debris 300 Feet, Critically Injures Three [VIDEO]

Airport Explosion Prompts Evacuation: What Caused Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Blast?

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