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Corn Mill Explosion in Wisconsin Kills 1, Injures Others


An OSHA inspection report said Didion didn't keep its corn processing facility "free from recognized hazards that caused or were likely to cause death or serious physical harm". A lot of them work at the Cambria corn mill plant, Clark said.

Gian Galassi, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin Hospital, said five explosion victims were still at the hospital as of Friday afternoon. Another body was recovered the next day, Thursday, June 1.

Cambria is approximately 70 miles northwest of Milwaukee. A dozen other employees were taken to hospital.

The cause of the explosion remained unknown Thursday afternoon, according to company officials, and is being investigated.

Cambria Fire Chief Cody Doucette also confirmed that a smaller fire occurred in a different part of the plant on Monday.

In the last 35 years, over 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. OSHA has launched an investigation into Wednesday night's blast. "Over the past 44 years, the Didion team has grown to be a close-knit family, and we ask for your prayers during this hard time". He said the Didion Milling plant processes corn and byproducts for industries all over the world.

The mill was reprimanded by federal safety inspectors six years ago for not taking precautions against dust explosions, which are a major hazard in handling grain, records showed.

OSHA ordered the mill to correct the problem by April 2011. The entire structure was lost after a large explosion occurred at the plant around 11:00 p.m. on May 31. Clark's statement didn't address the past citation. A spark from something like a cigarette butt ignites it, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

An explosion at the Didion Milling Plant in rural Cambria late Wednesday night killed one person and injured a dozen more. "It's just a tough time for everybody", said Lindsey Surges, after dropping off her 4-year old son at school on Friday. Officials say three died following the Wednesday night incident, and recovery crews found the final missing person. Twelve more were taken to area hospitals via ambulance and helicopter.

Cambria Village Clerk Lois Frank says local fire department officials say the search for another missing worker continued Friday at the site. He says there were no evacuations in the area and there's no threat from chemicals or fumes that he's aware of.

Commencement will go on as scheduled at the nearby Cambria-Friesland High School at 7 p.m. Friday after emergency crews declared the area sufficiently stable.

People enter First Presbyterian Church in Cambria.

The plant employs quite a few people from town and the surrounding area. So it's going to affect the whole area. Both with the shock of the situation and economically.

Didion has about 175 employees and operates four locations across Wisconsin, according to the company.

Brothers John and Dow Didion began Didion Milling in 1972 and construction on the Cambria corn mill was completed in 1991, according to the website.

"Didion is a regional employer, and one of the things we did immediately was reach out to our neighborhood school districts as we know their families will be affected and their communities will be affected as well", Raymond said.

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