Explosion at Wisconsin corn milling plant kills at least 1

  • Explosion at Wisconsin corn milling plant kills at least 1

Explosion at Wisconsin corn milling plant kills at least 1

Authorities say a third body has been recovered from the debris of an exploded corn mill in southern Wisconsin.

The sheriff's department and fire department were working with Didion Milling to determine what caused the blast.

In this image taken from a video by WISN-TV, the rubble of a corn mill plant following an explosion is seen, Thursday, June 1, 2017, in Cambria, Wis. Robert Goodenow's body was found Thursday night.

The cause of the explosion is still unclear.

Company officials said they are still paying the employees who work at the plant through an insurance policy, and they do plan on rebuilding the facility.

The district's schools were closed Thursday following the deadly blast at the nearby Didion Milling corn processing facility on Wednesday night.

The Associated Press says OSHA cited the plant in January 2011 for "exposing workers to hazards associated with dust explosions". A Didion family spokesman says their teams are very close and they're asking for prayers for the workers and their families. The company employs about 200 people. Twelve more were taken to area hospitals via ambulance and helicopter.

There is no word yet on the condition of any of those employees, although some could have serious injuries, Columbia County Sheriff Dennis Richards said.

One person is dead, others injured, and emergency crews remain on the scene of a plant explosion in south-central Wisconsin. It has offices and a soybean plant in Jefferson County to the southwest, the mill and an ethanol plant in Cambria and an oil packaging plant in Green Lake County to the north, according to the company website.

The sheriff says it has been hard on a personal level to know they may be just feet from someone who might be buried, but because of the danger posed by the structure, rescuers may not even know where that person is and that they might not be able to get to that person.

Seventeen employees were working in the plant when the blast was reported at around 11pm on Wednesday, village officials said in a news release. Two were able to get out safely and the others were not.

In the last 35 years, more than 500 grain dust explosions have been recorded at grain handling facilities in the USA, killing more than 180 people and injuring more than 675, according to OSHA.

A fire Monday night near a gas dryer in the plant was "totally unrelated" to the explosion, according to Clark.

Dozens of area police, fire and rescue agencies responded to the explosion at the plant, which processes corn for ethanol.

Emails sent to several Didion officials Thursday and a voicemail left for Vice President of Sales Jeff Dillon weren't immediately returned. "In any given incident you never know 100 percent", Clark said.

The counselors would provide support as needed, the Cambria-Friesland school district said in a Facebook post. There were no evacuations in the area, he said, and there's no threat from chemicals or fumes that he's aware of.