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Fire at soybean plant draws extensive firefighting efforts

The cause of the blaze, generating widespread thick smoke, remains undetermined.

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Dave Hinton reported on a fire that broke out at the International Flavors and Fragrances soybean processing plant in Gibson City, Illinois, for The News-Gazette. The blaze produced thick smoke visible for miles and lasted throughout the day, requiring the efforts of 53 firefighters from eight departments.

Gibson City Fire Chief Bruce Kallal reported that while the fire was mostly contained, a small amount of smoke was still emerging from the dryer when the fire crews left the scene. He mentioned the likelihood of revisiting the site to ensure the fire was completely extinguished. The cause of the fire remains undetermined, with Kallal noting uncertainty about whether it was due to an equipment malfunction.

The plant, involved in soybean processing, experienced heavy smoke and intense heat from the affected equipment, specifically a metal-enclosed soybean dryer detached from the main building. Kallal said that due to the significant fire and smoke within the dryer, firefighters had to conduct an exterior attack for safety reasons. They also worked on a conveyor feeding the dryer to prevent the fire from spreading to the plant.

Fire departments from Elliott, Melvin-Roberts, Sibley, Saybrook, Cropsey, and Bellflower also responded to the emergency call. The timeline for the plant's operations post-fire and the extent of damage remain uncertain.

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