© 2023 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Authorities Investigate Fatal Explosion at Ethanol Plant in Columbia County

At least one worker died, and around a dozen employees were injured, in an explosion at an ethanol plant in Cambria, WI. Two workers are missing. Recovery teams are digging through the ruins of one of the plant's buildings, searching for the missing employees.

The blast happened late Wednesday at the Didion Milling Plant in the Columbia County village, which is about 20 miles northwest of Beaver Dam.

The sheriff says medical flights and first responders from other communities helped treat the injured workers and transport them to hospitals. Some of the people who were hurt remained in burn centers and intensive care units Thursday.

As a precaution, parents were instructed not to send their children to public schools on Thursday. However, the Cambria village president told Madison TV station WKOW that he had not heard about any threats related to chemicals or fumes.

Authorities are trying to determine what caused the blast. The Associated Press is reporting that OSHA cited the plant six years ago, because workers were exposed to explosion and fire hazards. The AP says OSHA's citation in 2011 was the last one the agency issued to the plant. The AP says Didion officials did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment about the explosion.

Ann-Elise Henzl became News Director in September 2017.