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Three Injured in Iowa Factory Explosion

POSTVILLE, Iowa (AP) — A small explosion at a northeast Iowa factory on Monday injured three workers, including one who was flown to an Iowa City burn unit in critical condition.

The cause of the early morning blast at the Norplex-Micarta composite laminates plant in Postville was being investigated. The plant's sprinkler system kept the ensuing fires at bay, but the plant suffered an estimated $5 million to $7 million in damage.

The most seriously injured worker was flown to the burn unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, which is about 100 miles south of Postville. One of the other injured workers was treated and released from an area hospital, and the other declined treatment at the scene, authorities said. None of the injured workers' names were released.

Postville Fire Chief Jeffrey J. Bohr said the explosion was reported at about 1:20 a.m. Building personnel shut down boilers and gas valves to help contain the fire. The plant's sprinkler system and emergency alarms also helped suppress the fire until firefighters were able to extinguish it.

Plant manager Alan Johnson said the company was awaiting word about how the most seriously injured worker was doing.

"Our prayers are with our employees and their families," he said in a statement.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



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