Didion Milling employees attend 'team meeting' following tragic

One person is dead, others injured, and emergency crews remain on the scene of a plant explosion in south-central Wisconsin. The sheriff in Columbia County said that the blast was reported around 11 p.m. Wedne.

There were at least 16 employees working at the time at Didion Milling plant.

Even though crews spent all night searching for another person missing after the plant explosion, they are no closer to finding them. The names of both victims are not being released until family has been notified. The plant processes corn for ethanol.

Cambria Village Clerk Lois Frank says local fire department officials say the search for another missing worker continued Friday at the site.

The explosion occurred at the Didion Milling Corn Mill at 11 p.m. Wednesday night. He also said the fire and explosion occurred within "distinctly separate systems".

The federal agency reported that the plant's filters lacked an explosion protection system and ordered the facility to fix it. Records showed Didion paid a fine and OSHA closed the case in September 2013.

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

In July 2006, the Cambria Village Board objected, in a letter to the county, to Didion's request for rezoning and a conditional use permit to build a 40-million-gallon ethanol operation in the town of Courtland, just across Cabbage Road from the milling plant, which is located in the village limits.

"For something like this to happen to somebody who cares about safety so much and so deeply and is so proactive, it's unbelievable", said Jim Brunker, a partner and senior account executive for M3 Insurance.

The records show Didion paid anĀ almost $3,500 fine and the case was closed in September 2013. This Thursday, June 1, 2017, photo provided by Jeff Lange shows firefighters at the scene following an explosion and fire at the Didion Milling plant in Cambria, Wis. Schools in the Cambria-Friesland district closed Thursday because of the incidentĀ and will reopen Friday.

She said she was pleased the district had called in extra counselors.

There were five grain dust explosions in the US last year, including two that were fatal, according to a Purdue University annual report. OSHA investigators are investigating the latest fire.

Didion employs more than 200 people from around the area.

Riley Didion, president of Didion Milling, also spoke at the press conference. Keeping facilities clean of dust and equipment in good working order to reduce the possibility of igniting the dust are important to preventing explosions, the report said.

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. He says there were no evacuations in the area and there's no threat from chemicals or fumes that he's aware of.


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