Fifth Worker Dies after WI Mill Blast

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 11:06 AM gHale


A fifth worker has died as a result of an explosion May 31 at the Didion Milling corn milling plant in Cambria, WI, officials said.

Carlos “Charly” Nunez died at the hospital on June 23 from injuries sustained in the blast.

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Three people died and several were injured in the initial explosion and fire that occurred during the night shift at the plant. A fourth worker died in the hospital shortly after the explosion.

While an official cause of an explosion at a Wisconsin corn mill is not known yet, company officials faced federal safety inspectors six years ago for not taking precautions against dust explosions.

The plant was cited by OSHA investigators in 2011 for exposing workers to dust explosion hazards.

The plant processes corn for ethanol and other uses.

Dust explosions are a serious problem in handling grain, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. There were five grain dust explosions in the United States last year and two of the incidents resulted in fatalities, Purdue University said in an annual report. Keeping facilities clean of dust and equipment in good working order to reduce the possibility of igniting the dust are critical to preventing explosions, the report said.

Dust explosions can occur when high concentrations of dust particles are suspended in the air in a confined space during grain handling and a spark from something like a cigarette butt ignites it, according to the USDA’s website.

Rubble of a corn mill plant the day after a Wednesday explosion in Cambria, WI, shown in this image taken from a video by WISN-TV.
AP Photo



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