3 injured in fire that destroyed Nebraska fertilizer plant


HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) — A lightning strike at a Nebraska fertilizer plant set off a large fire that injured three truck drivers sleeping in the parking lot and destroyed the unoccupied factory, officials said Friday.

The fire was reported about 11:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cooperative Producers Inc. dry fertilizer plant in Hastings, about 160 miles (257 kilometers) west of Omaha. Crews worked most of the night and contained the fire just before 4 a.m. Friday.

The blaze forced authorities to close U.S. Highway 6 for several hours. A release from the Adams County Emergency Management office says railroad tracks just north of the plant also were closed for a time before being reopened.

The Nebraska Fire Marshal’s office said in a news release late Friday afternoon that an investigation showed the fire was sparked by a lightning strike.

Fire Chief Bob Hansen said no one was in the building when the fire happened. The injured semitrailer drivers were treated and released from a hospital, the Hastings Tribune reported. No firefighters were injured.

Travis Kelce Angers Taylor Swift Fans After Reaction to Pro-Trump Post, Stirs Up Major Controversy

Hansen said the plant was already fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived. Three other departments from nearby towns were called in to help fight the huge blaze.

“We were utilizing every hydrant we could,” Hansen said.

Firefighters considered evacuating nearby mobile homes, but a shift in the wind blew heavy smoke away from them and made evacuation unnecessary. Hastings residents with health conditions that could be exasperated by smoke were urged to keep their windows closed and air conditioners off Friday.

“We’re waiting for the smoke to clear to use a drone to fly over and see pictures of the inside,” Hansen said.

The CPI plant opened last year with plans for storage capacity of 42,000 tons of product. The preliminary damage estimate for the building is $14 million. The damage to products inside the building is estimated at another $5 million, according to the fire marshal’s office.


Information from: Hastings Tribune,

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City