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3 Men Killed In Mill Explosion Identified

Company Official Says Cause Of Explosion Is Still Unknown

Workers hosing down Didion Milling Plant
Photo courtesy of CBS 58

An executive of the corn mill plant leveled in an explosion and fire this week in southern Wisconsin has identified the three workers killed in the blast.

Didion Milling Plant operations vice president Derrick Clark said Friday that mill operator Duelle Block, fork lift operator Robert Goodenow and packing machine operator Pawel Tordoff died in the explosion and fire late Wednesday.

Derrick Clark is vice president of operations at Didion. Bridgit Bowden/WPR

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Block’s body was found early Thursday, not long after the explosion. Goodenow’s body was recovered late Thursday and Tordoff’s body was found Friday morning.

The milling plant was cited by OSHA in 2011 for hazards associated with dust explosions. But, company officials say the cause of Wednesday’s blast is still unknown.

Clark said federal and local authorities are investigating.

“We have multiple departments and unit operations that are going on in the milling facility, so given the scale of the damage, it’s really tough to assess what started where,” Clark said.

Clark says a fire at the plant on Monday was completely unrelated to the explosion, but is also under investigation. He noted smoking is not allowed in the plant.

“First and foremost, we have to protect all those people that are trying to do the investigation, so the site is still being secured, and we have ensure that as that investigation goes on, everyone is safe in doing so,” Clark said.

Jim Brunker is a partner at M3 Insurance, which insures the Didion plant. He said of the many companies he’s worked with he’s never seen an incident like this one.

“There is no explosion similar to this one in my 30 plus years of experience,” Brunker said.”This is in a category of its own.”

Wednesday’s blast injured about a dozen other people, and the extend of their injuries is still unknown.

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