Indiana grain elevator explosion injures four
17 April 2015
Four men were injured on April 16 in a grain elevator explosion at LaCrosse Feed Mill, 30 miles south-east of Gary, Indiana. The blast blew large holes in the sides of a 175-foot-tall feed tower. Residents 15 miles away reported hearing three explosions and feeling their houses shake, according to local sources. All of the victims were employees of the mill owner, Co-Alliance.
The tower houses a mill that grinds corn and other grain into feed for hogs and other farm animals. The product is then moved on a conveyor into two adjacent silos for storage before being transported to market.
LaCrosse Fire Department Safety Officer Larry Rust ordered the area sealed off due to a risk for collapse and said damage to the structure was too extensive for it to be rebuilt.
A grain dust explosion is the most likely reason for the blast, but this will not be confirmed until an investigation by the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has taken place.
One of the workers was about 10 feet from where the explosion occurred while the others were roughly 40 to 50 feet away.
Co-Alliance also operates a grain elevator in Union Mills where an explosion in 2013 killed one worker, who was knocked off a work platform that was more than 100 feet off the ground.