An underground fire at the Pattison Sand Company in Clayton flared up Thursday night, releasing heavy smoke on the Mississippi River side of the facility.
Officials at the mine aren’t sure what materials are burning, but conveyor belts and plastic piping are likely on fire.
Quantities of tires and fertilizer that are stored in the mine are in the Consolidated Barge and Grain area, an entirely separate part of the mine, and are not at risk of catching fire.
Smoke from fires can contain hazardous materials including small particles. People in the area should avoid heavy smoke and areas where odors of burning are prevalent. Groups that may be especially vulnerable to respiratory problems include the elderly, children, pregnant women and asthmatics. They should take extra precautions to avoid the smoke.
Generally, stay upwind of smoke, avoid areas of dense smoke, limit outdoor activity and contact a health care provider if having difficulty breathing.
The DNR is working with Pattison to hold water and foam from fire fighting materials on-site. Pattison officials are working with the Mine Safety and Health Administration to fight the fire.
Pattison produces industrial sand for the natural gas and oil industries.
For more information, contact Clark Ott at 563-927-2640 or 563-920-1586 (cell) or Clark.Ott@dnr.iowa.gov.