Postville explosion: Fire at Iowa laminate manufacturing plant damages up to $7

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A fire Monday caused by an explosion in an Postville, Iowa laminate manufacturing plant has left three employees injured.

"There was a machine inside the building that exploded," said Chris Dahlstrom, the Allamakee County emergency management coordinator. "The building is specially made so that if something falters, [the fire] will up through the roof."

One worker was near the machine when it exploded, and sustained critical injuries. He was airlifted to the burn unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Another worker was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries. The third refused treatment at the scene.

The fire activated the building's sprinklers, which kept the fire from spreading. When firefighters arrived, they entered the building to put out smaller fires and turn off gas valves and boilers to avoid a second explosion.

The explosion caused between $4 million and $7 million in damage to the plant. The Iowa fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the explosion.

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