One Killed, Thirteen Injured, and Two Missing in Fiery Explosion at Didion Milling Plant in Cambria, WI
Cambria, WI -- A fiery explosion at a corn milling plant in Cambria, WI left one dead, thirteen injured, and two people missing Thursday, May 31, 2017.
Preliminary media reports claim the incident took place at the Didion Milling plant around midnight. The exact cause of the deadly explosion is unclear, but the report claims the structure was leveled. One person was killed, thirteen were left with burn injuries, and at the time of the report, two people remained missing.
The official investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Further information may be forthcoming.
map of the area
Grain dust explosions are no new phenomenon. According to the OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) website, over the last 35 years, there have been more than 500 incidents of grain dust explosions recorded at grain handling facilities in the United States. These explosions led to the deaths of more than 180 people and injured more than 675.
As some may know, grain dust is extremely combustible, and can explode if ignited in a confined space. In fact, OSHA has very specific standards requiring the storage of grains away from ignition sources to prevent such explosions.
As it stands, we can't say for sure this is what took place here. But, considering the fact pattern in media reports, it sounds like a high likelihood.
Why was this allowed to happen? Was this incident preventable? I'm sure I'm not the first person reading this story asking themselves these questions. The least we owe to the victims and their loved ones in this tragedy is to give them the answers and closure they seek. It sounds harsh, but federal investigations, investigations by local authorities, and investigations by the company itself will do little to alleviate the loss faced by grieving loved ones.
Whenever someone's injured or killed in a workplace incident, it warrants a more in-depth investigation. I have little doubt OSHA will be on the scene conducting their own investigation. Unfortunately, the most that will probably amount to is a fine levied against the company. Not that it's the fault of OSHA, but it's simply not their job to help victims and their families get answers and compensation for damages in work accidents.
--Grossman Law Offices