Fire damages grain drying tower at United Ethanol

By Erin Voegele | January 14, 2014

United Ethanol LLC has temporarily ceased ethanol production at its 48 MMgy plant in Milton, Wis., following a fire that broke out in a grain drying tower on Jan. 12. A statement provided by a United Cooperative spokesperson indicates it is currently unclear how many days the plant will remain idle.

According to information provided by United Cooperative, the fire began in the facility’s ring dryer, which is responsible for drying the distillers grains.

While ethanol production has temporarily halted, other plant operations are continuing. “United Ethanol is still loading ethanol, loading dry distillers grain and wet distillers grain, and accepting and unloading corn,” said the company in a statement. “Ethanol and corn-oil production will continue as soon as the fire-damaged parts are replaced.”

A press release issued by the Milton Fire Department notes it received notification of the fire at approximately 1:10 p.m. “Upon our arrival we found the grain drying tower heavily involved in fire,” said the Milton Fire Department in its statement. “The internal extinguishing system had partially controlled the fire but fire was still visible. The fire was extinguished by fire personnel, and the damage was contained to the dryer tower.”

According to the fire department, the fire appears to be related to a mechanical problem that occurred with the dryer earlier that day. Damage estimates are not yet available.