Residents Return After Chemical Fire Forces Town Evacuation

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

The evacuation order for residents of a northern Iowa town was lifted Thursday afternoon more than six hours after a fertilizer fire was discovered at the local airport.

The evacuation order was issued after the fire broke out around 9 a.m. in a storage building at Northwood Municipal Airport. The building is owned by Northwood Ag Products and the fire caused concern over chemicals in the air. A plume of smoke hung over the town.

Authorities used buses to transport residents to a community center in nearby Kensett. The buses were later used to bring residents back when the evacuation was called off in the afternoon. Tests later cleared the way for residents to return and snowplows cleared roads so a caravan of cars and buses could get through.

Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City says four people sought treatment following the fire. Their conditions were not released.

The cause of the fire, which was later contained, remains under investigation.

Northwood, located on the Minnesota state line about 130 miles north of Des Moines, has a population of about 2,000 people.

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