Explosion Rocks Kansas Distillery

The company is still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

Around 8:15 pm on Friday, an explosion and fire damaged a distilling plant in northeast Kansas. The explosion at MGP Ingredients sent thick smoke into the sky and created a strong odor in the air. 

According to the company's website, MGP is a supplier of distilled spirits and food ingredients, including wheat starches and proteins. 

The company issued a statement on Saturday, acknowledging the incident and confirming that no one was injured. The company says it is assessing the damage and trying to determine the cause of the fire, which is still unknown at this time. 

According to the AP, MGP was fined earlier this year over noxious fumes that sent many people to the hospital in 2016. The company was hit with a $1 million fine for violating the federal Clean Air Act after a chlorine gas cloud formed when 4,000 gallons of sulfuric acid were mistakenly combined with 5,800 gallons of sodium hypochlorite.

Residents had to evacuate the city or shelter in place for hours. About 140 people sought medical attention.

The plant has had additional incidents in the past, including a small explosion in February 2016, but no workers were harmed. Employees were, however, injured in a 2002 explosion and fire that damaged the plant's distillery.

Founded in 1941, MGP also produces industrial alcohol for use in food and non-food applications. The company is headquartered in Atchison, Kansas, where it makes its distilled alcohol products and food ingredients. The company also has a facility in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, that distills and matures premium spirits.

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