Friday, 14 December, 2018

Didion Milling employees attend 'team meeting' following tragic

Alfredo Watts | 04 June, 2017, 04:13

JOHNSON CREEK, Wis. (AP) - The body of a third worker was recovered Friday from the ruins of a corn mill that exploded in southern Wisconsin, and company executives insisted safety violations were corrected years ago.

Even though crews spent all night searching for another person missing after the plant explosion, they are no closer to finding them.

The Associated Press says OSHA cited the plant in January 2011 for "exposing workers to hazards associated with dust explosions". But the company was reprimanded in 2011 for failing to have an adequate dust explosion protection system.

The plant also makes ethanol and earlier reports said the blast occurred in that part of the facility.

Details on the explosion have steadily been released by officials on Thursday. Didion's ethanol plant is across the street from where the explosion happened, and it is not in any danger, Williams said. "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". That quiet shattered with the explosion at Didion around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

The company has closed until further notice, but Clark said Friday all the plant workers will keep their jobs.

The district houses early childhood through 12th grade in one building about an eighth of a mile from the plant, Superintendent Timothy Raymond said.

Gian Galassi, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin Hospital, said five explosion victims were still at the hospital as of Friday afternoon.

An explosion at the Didion Milling Plant in rural Cambria late Wednesday night killed one person and injured a dozen more.

Didion employs more than 200 people from around the area.

So Ramirez, a waitress at Two White Doves Family Restaurant, on the single block downtown that contains Cambria's library, village offices, bank and both of its bars, spent much of Thursday on her phone.

As the wrecked Didion facility smoldered through Thursday, many residents of this village that sits along a small lake about halfway between Portage and Waupun in Columbia County were taking stock of how closely they were connected to the tragedy. OSHA has launched an investigation into Wednesday night's blast. "Employees were exposed to the hazards associated with dust explosion, deflagration or other fire hazards".

Community members have planned a vigil for 7 p.m. Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church in Cambria.

Multiple fire departments, ambulances and medical helicopters were called to the scene.

Several people were being treated at a local hospital, WISC-TV says. He says there were no evacuations in the area and there's no threat from chemicals or fumes that he's aware of.