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IOWA FERTILIZER STORAGE FACILITY EXPLOSION FORCES TOWN TO EVACUATE
Quad City Times reports:

Residents of Northwood were being evacuated Thursday morning as firefighters battled a chemical fire at a fertilizer storage facility on the grounds of the Northwood airport. The facility contains sulfuric acid, according to Worth County Emergency Management.

Residents are being asked to go "anywhere out of Northwood," a Worth County Sheriff's deputy said. Community centers in Kensett and Carpenter were preparing to accommodate residents as were many churches in outlying communities.

Northwood has a population of nearly 2,000 people. It is north of Mason City and just south of the Minnesota border.

According to a reporter at the Kensett community center, school buses are being used to evacuate Northwood residents to emergency centers elsewhere in the county.

Residents who had no transportation were being transported outside of Northwood from the Worth County Sheriff's Office, 1000 Central Ave. Anyone needing transportation to the sheriff's office was asked to call that office at 641-324-2481.

The National Weather Service issued a civil emergency message regarding the evacuation, calling it "a dangerous situation."

Several residents reported hearing explosions when the fire broke out. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Highway 105, a main artery in Northwood, was blocked off in the area near the fire. U.S. 65 in the area also was closed to traffic.

The Iowa State Patrol, Northwood police and the Worth County Sheriff's Office were assisting at the scene.

Sulfuric acid releases toxic and irritating fumes when heated and exposure may cause health problems, according to information from the Health Protection Agency.


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