One dead, two missing after Wisconsin corn mill explosion

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An overnight blast at an ethanol-processing plant and resulting fire in Wisconsin left one person dead, two missing and more than 10 injured.

Multiple fire departments and more than four helicopters were called to the Didion Milling plant in the 500 block of Williams Street at 11pm, but rescuers struggled to get into the burning building. There is no immediate word on what may have caused the blast.

Sixteen employees were in the facility at the time, a spokeswoman for the Village of Cambria said.

According to the AP, Didion payed a $3,500 fine and the case was closed. She declined to release further details. Didion said it was too early to determine a cause for the explosion. It was unclear whether the blast occurred in that part of the facility.

The explosion and resulting fire did significant damage to buildings and structures on site.

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Didion is a family-owned business that employs around 175 people and has four locations across Wisconsin. OSHA hasn't cited the plant for anything since, records show. The injured employees have been transported to local hospitals. According to records obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal, the Didion Milling plant in Cambria was told by inspectors six years ago that they did not take proper precautions against dust explosions. Schools in the Cambria-Friesland district closed today because of the incident. Two of those employees were treated on scene and 11 were brought to area hospitals.

"The safety and security of our employees is our top priority", Didion Vice President of Operations Derrick Clark said in a news release.

In 2008, Didion Ethanol completed construction on a state-of-the-art, 40 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant, which is able to use the byproduct of the corn milling process to create ethanol more efficiently.

Residents of small village in Columbia County are now trying to find a way to rally around community members dealing with a tragedy. 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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