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Fire ignites at the Rio Valley Biofuel plant again

By Pilar Arias, pilar.arias@kvia.com
Published On: May 28 2014 10:14:09 PM CDT
Updated On: May 29 2014 07:21:58 AM CDT

Biofuels plant fire Day 2: owner talks about what went wrong -- and right.

ANTHONY, New Mexico -

Early Thursday morning, flames burst out at the Rio Valley Biofuels plant again. It marks the third day in a row in which firefighters were called out to the plant Anthony, New Mexico. No major damage was reported from the overnight fire.

In the latest episode, firefighters say a mix of high winds and smoldering railroad ties caused the fire to spring up once more. However, there is still no official cause for what started the mess on Tuesday.

"It's disturbing. But I think we'll get through. We're working very hard to try to figure that out with investigators," owner Jed Smith said.

Tuesday morning, emergency crews had to respond to a fire at the business on the 1900 block of Anthony Drive. Flames and thick black smoke could be seen for miles in southern New Mexico and west Texas. On Wednesday, they continued to monitor the nearly completely charred plant, when another fire broke out.

Rio Valley Biofuels had been operating for 8 years at the site. Smith says he plans to rebuild, but doesn't know if it will be at the same location.

"It sucks," said one customer. "I used to come here about two to three times a week to get biodiesel for my cars."

Smith is grateful that the four employees at Rio Valley Biofuels followed proper safety procedures and got out in time. He also is happy no one in the surrounding neighborhoods of 300 homes that were evacuated were harmed. He thanks all the emergency crews that responded.

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