3 now dead in Wis. milling explosion

Explosion flattens milling plant near Madison, Wis.

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

Didion Milling Plant executive Derrick Clark says the worker's body was found Friday in the rubble of the plant in Cambria. The first victim was found a short time after Wednesday's explosion. Another body was recovered Thursday.

All of the 16 employees in the plant when the explosion occurred have now been accounted for. Nearly a dozen were injured in the blast. The extent of their injuries is not known. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

The blast was reported around 11 p.m. Wednesday. The explosion leveled the corn milling structure at the Didion complex in Columbia, a village of about 770 residents roughly 45 miles northeast of Madison.

Some concrete storage silos are damaged but remained standing.

Divine Savior Hospital spokeswoman Haley Gilman says the hospital in nearby Portage received six people injured in the explosion. She says one was transferred to the burn unit at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, one was admitted to the intensive care unit and four were treated and released.

University of Wisconsin Hospital spokeswoman Emily Kumlien says five people were air-lifted to her facility. She says four are in the hospital's burn center, while the fifth is in the hospital's trauma and life support center. She declined to release further details.

Village President Glen Williams says about three dozen police, fire and rescue agencies responded to the explosion at the complex, which processes corn for ethanol and other industrial uses.

Meanwhile, a records check indicates the ownerw of the plant were cited by federal safety investigators six years ago for exposing workers to dust explosion hazards.

Records from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration show that Didion Milling Plant in Cambria was cited in January 2011 for exposing workers to hazards associated with dust explosion and other fire hazards. The records say filters in the plant lacked an explosion protective system.

OSHA ordered the mill to correct the problem by April 2011. The records show Didion paid a nearly $3,500 fine and the case was closed in September 2013. OSHA hasn't cited the plant for anything since.



© 2017 Associated Press


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