Flash fire injures 1 at NEW Co-op

OTHO – A construction worker was injured in a flash fire at NEW Co-op in Otho Monday afternoon.

The man, whose name was not available, was taking apart a distributor with a torch at the top of the grain elevator, said Webster County Sheriff Jim Stubbs.

The cause of the incident is unknown at this time, and the construction company will be conducting its own investigation, said NEW Co-op Safety Manager Dennis Knight. He said it may have been caused when something was knocked loose.

“We think they knocked something loose, and it hit the torch and flashed,” Knight said. “I don’t know if it was dust or what.”

The construction worker is an employee of Global AG Inc, Knight said. He was burned on his arms and face, Knight said, but Knight didn’t know how badly. The worker was taken by ambulance to Trinity Regional Medical Center.

Knight and Stubbs said they believed the man was then taken to Iowa City.

Knight said the incident appeared to be a flash fire, not an explosion, and it occurred outside the elevator. The fire was reported at 1:56 p.m.

The Otho Fire Department also responded to the scene.