Two treated for smoke inhalation at Iowa Falls fire - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Two treated for smoke inhalation at Iowa Falls fire

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Crews weren't just fighting the fire -- half the battle was just getting a look at it.

The Cargill Plant caught fire in Iowa Falls Wednesday night. Officials believe it started in a bean dryer. For several hours, thick smoke obscured Highway 65 out front.

"It was just a huge cloud of smoke," said Nik Stephens, who works across the street at Cowboy Way Western Wear.

"I couldn't see the driveway to pull into work," he said.

"Yeah, it's a big fire," said Bob Hildreth, with the North Hardin County Rescue squad. Firefighters and EMTs from about a half dozen departments responded.

Hildreth was tasked with slowing traffic on the highway.

"You couldn't see me to you four feet away from the smoke running across the road," he said.

Across the street, Stephens worried about the store.

"My immediate thought was, oh shoot, the smoke's going to get into the store and damage the merchandise," he said.

Luckily for him the wind shifted after a few hours.

"The way it was blowing, breathing it in -- it was really tough to breathe," Stephens said.

Around seven, crews knocked the flames down, and doused the remaining hotspot. It wasn't easy.

"Trying to find it with all the different gates and valves in there just makes it hard for them," Hildreth said.

No one was seriously injured, but several firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation injuries.

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