DES MOINES, Iowa — Barton Solvents, a supplier of drycleaning solvents and other chemicals, suffered a massive explosion and fire at its plant outside Des Moines on Monday. The explosion is the company’s second this year.
Reported at 1:15 p.m., the fire continued for several hours as 55-gallon drums and 300-gallon tanks exploded to feed the flames. Fire departments throughout the Des Moines metro area responded to the fire, but often had to keep their distance due to successive blasts. The fire was mostly contained by 10:00 p.m.
Smoke forced the closure of nearby Interstates 80 and 235, and aircraft were diverted around the plume. Officials also suspected that the smoke contained toxic fumes and wished to conduct testing before reopening roads.
A July explosion at Barton’s Valley Center, Kan., plant forced the evacuation of about 6,000 people. Investigators later blamed the explosion on static electricity igniting a drycleaning solvent. Based in Des Moines, Barton has facilities in Iowa, Kansas and Wisconsin.
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