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Columbus Foods Biodiesel Factory Severely Damaged By Chemical Explosion

Fri, 07/17/2009 - 8:11am

CHICAGO (AP) — Officials say an explosion at a Chicago biodiesel manufacturing plant that injured two workers was caused by a chemical reaction.

Deputy Fire Chief Gene Ryan says the reaction caused a partial collapse of the one-story Columbus Foods plant. The explosion Friday morning sent bricks and debris flying hundreds of feet in the air and temporarily shut down some commuter train lines.

Chicago firefighters search an area outside a factory where an explosion injured two people Friday, July 17, 2009, on Chicago's West Side. Fire officials are blaming a chemical reaction for the explosion that caused a partial collapse of the one-story Columbus Foods plant. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Rick Cummisford, the quality control supervisor at the plant, says two workers were mixing chemicals Friday morning when a reaction caused the explosion. He says the plant manufactures biodiesel out of vegetable oil.

Cummisford says one worker received scratches and the other was splashed with chemicals.

Ryan says hazardous materials teams have deemed the building safe.

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