No production delays expected at Wisconsin plant following fire

By Erin Voegele | April 02, 2014

A minor fire that broke out in a section of ductwork at Monroe, Wis.-based Bader State Ethanol LLC is not expected to impact plant operations. The incident occurred in the early morning hours of April 1. No injuries were reported.

Erik Huschitt, general manager of the plant, told Ethanol Producer Magazine that residual material in the ductwork of the facility’s dryer system appears to have begun smoldering. The smoldering caused temperatures to rise, which engaged fire suppression equipment in the combustion units of both dryers. The temperature in the ductwork, however, remained elevated. As a result, the fire department was alerted. “The fire department came and deluged the duct system with water,” Huschitt said.

According to Huschitt, the incident occurred on the cusp of a planned three-day spring maintenance shutdown, and is not expected to result in any startup delays.

The company is still assessing if there is any equipment damage. If there is, Huschitt said it would be isolated to the duct system. He noted that the ductwork is cleaned as part of every maintenance shutdown. That work is being completed now, and that a damage evaluation will be performed once that process is complete.

Huschitt stressed that the Badger State Ethanol team did a wonderful job responding to the incident. “It went off all without a hitch,” he said. “Our staff is extremely well trained when it comes to safety.”

While the fire suppression equipment worked exactly as designed, Huschitt said the company is also proactively considering adding additional fire suppression capabilities to the duct system.

The 55 MMgy Badger State Ethanol plant began operations in 2002. In addition to ethanol, the plant produces distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), corn protein feed and corn oil.