Update: Third body recovered from rubble, names released
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Authorities say a third body was recovered on June 4 from the debris of an exploded corn mill in southern Wisconsin. The body had been found Friday, June 2, but recovery was delayed until engineers determined it was safe to send crews into the site.
The blast and fire were reported the evening of Wednesday, May 31 at the Didion Milling Plant in Cambria, a small village about 45 miles northeast of Madison.
Didion Milling Plant executive Derrick Clark says the worker's body was found June 2 in the rubble of the plant in Cambria.
The first victim was found a short time after the May 31 explosion. Another body was recovered the next day, Thursday, June 1.
All of the 16 employees in the plant when the explosion occurred have been accounted for. Nearly a dozen were injured in the blast. The extent of their injuries is not known.
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, June 2, that mill operator Duelle Block, fork lift operator Robert Goodenow and packing machine operator Pawel (pawl) Tordoff died in the explosion and fire late Wednesday.
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 cause of the explosion remains under investigation. The company was reprimanded in 2011 for failing to have an adequate dust explosion protection system.
Nearly a dozen other people were taken to hospitals following the explosion and fire. None of the victims has been identified. Authorities say 16 people were inside the plant at the time.
Cambria Fire Chief Cody Doucette said Thursday a smaller fire occurred in a different part of the mill on Monday. Doucette says investigators are trying to determine whether there's a link between that fire and the explosion.
The community of about 770 people 45 miles northeast of Madison held a vigil Thursday night to grieve the loss of life.
Didion Milling employs more than 200 people at multiple facilities around southern Wisconsin. Most of them work at the Cambria corn mill plant, Clark said.
The company has closed until further notice, but Clark said Friday all the plant workers will keep their jobs. Some may be moved to other facilities or retrained to handle other duties, he said.
He expects production to resume at an ethanol plant adjacent to the corn mill soon, he added.
"(The explosion has) impacted our operations but that's the least of our worries," he said.
Goodenow's niece, 33-year-old Sarah Goodenow, said in a telephone interview that her uncle's death has left her devastated. She said she had an anxiety attack when she heard he was killed.
She said he wasn't married and had no children but was happy and always joked around at family gatherings. He was quick to play with the kids at the gatherings, she said. She remembers him playing catch with her when she was a young girl and how he loved to color and draw with her own children.
"He was a hard worker," she said. "He spent a lot of time joking and with the kids. He was happy."