Industrial Safety

Massive explosion rocks Wisconsin plant, sparks fire

By CBS news reports

Jun 01, 2017

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Rescue crews are scouring the rubble of a corn mill plant for two employees following an explosion that killed at least one person and injured about a dozen others in southern Wisconsin, authorities said Thursday.

Numerous fire crews raced to the scene of the large explosion and fire in a corn milling plant about 45 miles northeast of Madison, Wisconsin, reports CBS Madison affiliate WISC-TV.

It happened at the Didion Milling Plant, whose president, Riley Didion, said, "We are praying for our team. There's a lot we don't know right now. Our prayers are with everyone."

Columbia County Sheriff Dennis Richards said during a news conference that 16 employees were working at the time of the blast. The plant processes corn for ethanol. The plant also makes ethanol and earlier reports said the blast occurred in that part of the facility.

Richards said one person was killed and two people were still missing as of Thursday morning. Authorities said about a dozen people were injured in the blast, though no details about the injuries have been released.

"I got a phone call from my brother. I called a coworker who is another lab tech. They were trapped inside. A big explosion happened, then everything just collapsed," employee Nayeli Hernandez told WISC.

The Red Cross' Barbara Behling said the man who was killed has a 13-month-old baby with his girlfriend. She and his grandmother were on hand to be notified of his death. His parents live out of state.

One of the injured victims had to have his legs amputated, Behling said.

A Didion representative told reporters Thursday morning the cause of the explosion was being investigated.

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