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Shakopee Energy Plant Explosion Damaged Two Silos, Cause Still Unknown

SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) -- The city of Shakopee is giving the all-clear after a biomass facility plant explosion rocked the city south of Minneapolis.

The explosion was reported around 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Koda Energy, a joint venture with Rahr Malting Company, which produces malt. The facility is located at 800 1st Ave. W.

"I heard a very loud boom, a huge explosion followed by a huge fireball," neighbor Jolene Tesch said. "With all the stuff that's been going on with the news ... it was scary."

By mid-afternoon, the city tweeted that there are no air quality or environmental concerns following the Koda Energy silo explosion. The fire caused damage to two biomass fuel silos and their conveyor system, as well as the truck unloading facility, Koda Energy said. A smouldering fire remains, which is expected to burn itself out.

The seven employees that were on site, are accounted for and are safe.

Koda Energy does not yet know the cause of the fire, or when it will resume operations.

"The first (explosion) caught my eye and I happened to look over and see the second one," Jerry Dahl said. "I saw flames shooting about 100 feet in the air."

The city of Shakopee had asked all residents and visitors within a mile radius of Koda Energy and Rahr Malting to stay indoors until safety issues were investigated. Koda Energy is regulated by the MPCA and became fully operation in May 2009. Rahr dates back to 1847.

"We still have to do some investigating to determine the cause," Koda Energy Director of Supply Mike Marsollek said. "The main concern was getting everybody out side, accounted for, and makings sure the public was safe."

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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