UIHC treats victims of Marengo soybean facility explosion

According to a statement released Thursday afternoon, patients from an explosion in Marengo, Iowa, were transported to the hospital for treatment.


Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen

Firefighters work to control a blaze at G60, a biofuel production plant, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, in Marengo, Iowa.

Isabelle Foland and Sabine Martin

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics’ medical team is still prepared for emergency response after taking in multiple patients on Thursday from an explosion and ongoing fire at a soybean facility in Marengo, Iowa.

The fire started at Heartland Crush LLC, which is a soybean facility at 810 E. South St. in Marengo — about 40 miles from Iowa City. According to a statement from UIHC released on Thursday afternoon, the hospital expects more patients to be treated.

UI Health Care Chief Medical Officer Theresa Brennan said on Thursday afternoon that the hospital was prepared to take in the 10-15 patients, who have minor to moderate injuries including burns, routine cuts and scrapes, and trauma.

“We were prepared to take many more patients than this,” Brennan said. “Even when a time when staffing is challenging, our team did a great job of trying to move patients out of the ER … Our ER, as you know, is routinely full.”

Brennan said the hospital categorizes patients with red, yellow, and green status during mass casualty incidents. She said one patient from the explosion was “red,” which is the most severe category.

While UIHC couldn’t provide the number of patients discharged, Brennan confirmed that some were released from the hospital as of 4 p.m. Thursday.

“Like any hospital in the nation, we prepare for these things on a regular basis," she said. "And as a matter of the fact, we just had an exercise a couple of days ago, so we are well prepared to take these patients."

While transporting the patients, Brennan said a warning was issued to local police to clear traffic patterns.

“At this time, we are evaluating the severity of injuries and are working to ensure all patients receive the care they require,” the press release states. “We are unable to comment on the specific conditions of the patients in our care at this time.”

The Iowa County Iowa Sheriff's Office in Marengo requested via Facebook that citizens stay indoors and away from the fire.

“Anyone evacuated due to the fire can go to the Iowa County Transportation building,” the post stated.