Three confirmed dead in explosion at Didion Milling

by Eric Schroeder
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Didion Milling
Didion Milling's corn mill in Cimbria, Wisconsin,U.S., pictured in 2012. Photo courtesy of Didion Milling.
CAMBRIA, WISCONSIN, U.S. — The three employees who were killed in a May 31 explosion at Didion Milling’s corn mill in Cambria, Wisconsin, U.S., have been identified. They are Duelle Block, 27, a mill operator; Robert Goodenow, 53, a forklift operator; and Pawel Tordoff, 21, a packaging machine operator. More than a dozen others were injured.

“The loss of these three team members is a very emotional incident for us and has really torn a hole in the heart of the Didion Milling team and the Cambria community,” said Derrick Clark, vice-president of operations at Didion Milling.

The explosion occurred in the corn mill, not the adjacent ethanol plant that Didion Milling also owns. The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

 Didion Milling is closed until further notice, but Clark said all plant workers will keep their jobs. Employees will be moved to other facilities or retrained to handle other responsibilities, he said.

Didion Milling is a Wisconsin-based, family-owned agricultural processing business.

According to the 2017 Grain & Milling Annual, the facility’s total 24-hour grind capacity is 14,000 bushels with storage capacity of 3.2 million bushels. The products produced at the facility include corn grits, flour, meal and pregelatinized products. The construction of the mill was completed in 1991. It is located 20 miles from Interstate 94 and is situated on the Wisconsin Southern Railroad.

In 2008, Didion Milling completed the construction of the ethanol plant that sits adjacent to the corn mill in Cambria. The ethanol plant uses the byproduct of the corn milling process to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol per year. 
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