NEW INFORMATION: Eight employees inside La Crosse plant during explosion

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- We're learning more about a fiery explosion at a plant in La Crosse.

Crews are still looking into what caused the explosion at Midwest Fuels in La Crosse Wednesday.

Eight people were working at the time, but only one employee was hurt. They were taken to the hospital for minor burns, treated, and released.

Three of the seven tanks at on the property were empty, the one that exploded had about 7,000 gallons of liquid asphalt inside.

Witnesses say the blast could be felt several blocks away.

More than two-dozen firefighters were called to the scene to get the fire under control.
The La Crosse Fire Department said it was an explosion that firefighters could feel from 10 blocks away.
“There was heavy smoke dropping down onto George Street, which is several blocks from here, and then people from the public started calling in to our dispatch center reporting that we had heavy fire and flame,” said Division Chief Jeff Murphy.
The explosion happened just before 7:00 Wednesday morning at Midwest Fuels.
Steve Mathy, president of the parent company for Midwest Fuels said the tank that exploded was 132,000 gallons, and contained about 7,000 gallons of an asphalt-diesel mixture.
He said the tank didn't have much inside, because it's the end of the season.
“The roof of the tank blew off, landed on the north side of our terminal. As soon as the explosion happened we called 911,” said Mathy.
Mathy said the tank was destroyed.

One employee suffered slight burns, and was treated and released from the hospital.
“We did for a short time ask the public and within about a half mile in each direction to shelter in place until that smoke plume was under control, and we knew that we weren't going to lose any other tanks,” said Murphy.
Midwest Fuels was still open Wednesday, but shipments were stopped. Business will resume as normal on Thursday.
The cause is under investigation.


LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU & AP) -- Firefighters in La Crosse have contained a blaze that erupted from an explosion at a fuels plant.

Officials say the explosion and fire erupted in an above-ground tank containing an unknown amount of diesel fuel and asphalt at Midwest Fuels Wednesday about 7 a.m.

La Crosse Fire Capt. Dan Skiles says one person was transported to the hospital with an injury. He says firefighters poured foam into the tank to smother the blaze and keep it from spreading to at least four other tanks around it.

Residents of the neighborhood were told to stay indoors because of air quality concerns. That advisory was lifted about 2 hours later.

Skiles says the initial explosion could be felt for miles. He says firefighters were also concerned the blaze might spread to the Hydrite Chemical Co. next door.


A shelter-in-place order has been lifted in La Crosse, after a morning explosion and fire at a fuel company.

It happened on the city's north side.

Officials say a blast at Midwest Fuels on the 600 block of Sumner Street sparked the blaze. Midwest is near the Hydrite Chemical Company. The company is described on its website as a supplier of independent energy to homes and businesses in the area.

The La Crosse Fire Department says it impacted homes within a ten block radius of the company. The homes are between the Black River east to George Street on the north side of La Crosse and between the La Crosse River north to Clinton Street.

The La Crosse County Dispatch says this happened just before 7:00A.M. and there is no word on any injuries at this time.

Stay with WEAU as we gather more information on this developing story.

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