The Latest: Fire marshal says lightning caused massive fire

The Latest on a fire that destroyed a central Nebraska fertilizer plan (all times local):

5 p.m.

The Nebraska Fire Marshal's office has determined a lightning strike caused the fire that destroyed a fertilizer plant and injured three people.

The office said in a news release Friday afternoon that the fire at Cooperative Producers Inc. dry fertilizer plant at Hastings has been declared "natural in origin." The state office says it was aided by the Hastings Fire Department and three other departments, as well as Adams County Emergency Management, in investigating the cause of the fire.

Preliminary damage estimates for the building is $14 million. The damage to products inside the building is estimated at another $5 million.


1:45 p.m.

Crews have contained a large fire at a Nebraska fertilizer plant that injured three people and destroyed the plant.

The fire was reported about 11:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cooperative Producers Inc. dry fertilizer plant in Hastings and was contained just before 4 a.m. Friday.

The blaze forced authorities to close U.S. Highway 6 for several hours. A release from the Adams County Emergency Management office says railroad tracks just north of the plant also were closed for a time but have since reopened.

The Hastings Tribune reports that three semitrailer drivers who had been sleeping in their vehicles parked at the plant were injured. They were treated and released from a local hospital.

The CPI plant opened last year with plans for storage capacity of 42,000 tons of product.


Information from: Hastings Tribune,