Officials: Silos storing rubber caught fire at Humane Manufacturing in Janesville

·2 min read

Jun. 4—JANESVILLE — A Janesville Fire Department official said a rubber fire in storage silos led to an apparent explosion Friday afternoon at Humane Manufacturing on Janesville's south side.

Rock County dispatch supervisors reported a fire with burning silos at the 1300 block of Venture Drive at Humane Manufacturing, which produces rubber flooring mats.

Janesville Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Lukas said authorities were still learning what caused the fire, but he said firefighters have learned that at least one of a cluster of tall, metal silos used to store shredded rubber had caught fire.

Lukas said the fire is believed to have caused an explosion in at least one of the silos.

On Friday afternoon, a Gazette reporter observed what appeared to be a large piece of metal from the top of one of the silos laying on the rooftop of the Humane Manufacturing plant building.

Just to the east, at least one of two metal silos painted with red-and-white stripes to look similar to the American flags appeared to be missing the top. Both the silos, part of a cluster of a half-dozen metal storage structures, appeared charred.

A Gazette reporter observed thick black smoke pouring from the top of one of the silos shortly after 12:30 p.m. Fire crews from several departments used a ladder truck equipped with a water hose to knock down the fire in the silo.

A Humane Manufacturing plant property manager on site declined to comment on the fire.

Two Humane employees who asked not to be identified because they aren't authorized to comment said they'd heard a "loud boom" coming from the direction of the silos.

One of the employees said that they believed no was hurt "except for a few scratches."

Lukas said that fire crews checked the inside of the manufacturing plant for signs of fire. He said the plant showed signs of heat, and there was some smoke inside, but firefighters hadn't determined if there was ever any fire inside the plant.

Lukas said as of mid-day Friday there wasn't a known cause for the blaze.