Area fire departments were dispatched to what could have been a disastrous situation, when the ethanol plant near Fairbank caught fire.

The fire began late Wednesday morning in a silo at the Flint Hills Ethanol Plant, located just east of Fairbank.

Fire departments from Fairbank and Independence, the Buchanan County Emergency Management, Buchanan County Sheriff and Fayette County Sheriff responded to the scene.

The smoldering blaze could be seen at the top of the silo, and fire crews were able to keep the fire suppressed, and from spreading to other buildings on the property. No injuries were reported, and a damage estimate has not been tallied.

Firefighters remained at the scene of the smoking blaze through the night. Officials had announced that there was no risk of an explosion. However, the public is being asked to keep away from the site, to let emergency personnel do their job.

Iowa Highway 281, which runs in front of the Flint Hills Plant, remains open to traffic. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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