Liberty, MO Feed Mill Explosdion, Jan 1978
FEED MILL EXPLOSION UNDER INVESTIGATION -- THREE KILLED.
Liberty, Mo. (UPI) -- Officials believe grain dust caused a feed mill explosion and fire that killed three men and injured six others, but heavy smoke and heat is delaying a full investigation.
A spokesman said a team of four investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were at the Desert Gold Feed Co. Friday, but could accomplish little because of the conditions.
Firemen from six nearby cities fought the flames following an explosion at the mill late Thursday and recovered the three bodies.
Deputy Fire Chief George Robinson said grain dust apparently was the cause.
"Everything points to that," he said. "Concentrated oxygen and dust in the air and something set it off. We may never know what."
A company official said it was a grain dust explosion, "but we don't know what ignited it and the fire."
Herschel Hansen, acting OSHA area director, said his office was attempting to determine if any safety violations were involved.
Officials at Douglas Chemical Co., of which Desert Gold is a subsidary, Friday afternoon said they would not comment further on the accident.
Earlier, Jerry McCaslin, Douglas Chemical president, said the damage appeared extensive, especially to the contents of the mill. He said the mill itself was insured for $750,000 and said as much as $100,000 to $150,000 of the mill's inventory may have been destroyed.
Killed in the blast were TIMOTHY H. GOOD, 35, Weston; LEE ROY STEWART, 33, Stilwell, Kan., and BRUCE MILLS, 27, Liberty, son of Dan Mills, general manager of the mill.
Capt. Kenny Hobbs said the fire would be allowed to burn out and there was little danger of another explosion. Dredging was to start today to smother the smoldering feed.
It was the fourth major grain company explosion in the past month. In December grain explosions caused more than 50 deaths in Westwego, La.; and Galveston, Texas, and a grain blast also occurred in Tupelo, Miss.
Tyrone Daily Herald Pennsylvania 1978-01-21