Listen to the press conference from the Cambria Community Center here:
6/2/17 – The body of a second person has been recovered from the rubble of the Didion Milling plant in Cambria. The facility was leveled by an explosion Wednesday evening. Twelve employees were injured and rescuers conducted search and rescue operations through the overnight hours for a second night as they search for one more person. Sheriff Dennis Richards says the second body was recovered at 5:55pm Thursday. Richards is not saying much about the extent of injures of those transported but he did say that four people were flown from the scene and that does not happen unless the injuries are serious.
Richards says on a personal note it’s been “very difficult to know that there’s been two people – now one – that at times were feet from us and we don’t know for sure where they’re at and because of the danger of the building we’re unable to let anybody in there.” Search and rescue dogs are on site to assist and cranes are being used to slowly move debris.
Cambria Community Fire Chief Cody Doucette says there are still portions of the building that rescuers have been unable to enter. Doucette says there are structural engineers on scene constantly checking on stability in case anything shifts. He calls it a painstakingly slow process of moving piece by piece. Doucette says the incident has not sunk in fully yet. “I’ll be honest,” he says, “When you pull up to a scene like that it’s something that you never expect to see and I hope to God that I never have to see it again and I hope that nobody else does.”
The U-S Occupational Safety and Health Administration and State Fire Marshalls Office has started an investigation into the blast. Richards says it’s too early to determine a cause and it could take several days of investigation to determine. Richards took a moment yesterday to thank the emergency personnel who responded. He noted that many fire and EMS responders are volunteers “out there 12, 14 hours some of them leaving to go to their full-time jobs and some of them taking benefits time to remain…that says a lot.” Doucette says that the community has been very supportive. He says the dedication and heart of the community was proved with this incident. “Cambria may be small in size,” Doucette says, “but we have an unbelievable heart and that’s shown through.” Residents gathered at the First Presbyterian Church in Cambria Thursday night to pray for victims of the explosion and fire at the Didion Milling plant.
Meanwhile, classes resume today in the Cambria-Friesland School District and early childhood classes through the 12th grade are held in a building located about one-eighth of a mile from the plant. Graduation will take place as scheduled in the high school gymnasium at 7pm; donations of money or non-perishable food items are being accepted at the ceremony.
A fund has been established for the victims of the explosion. The fund is through the National Exchange Bank of Cambria, PO Box 338 care of the Old Mill Foundation Didion Benefit Fund. You can also find that address on our website and Facebook pages. Village officials say the money will go directly to assisting those affected.
A fund has been established for the victims of the explosion. The fund is through the National Exchange Bank of Cambria, PO Box 338 care of the Old Mill Foundation Didion Benefit Fund. Village officials say the money will go directly to assisting those affected.
Those who wish to offer assistance or supplies please contact the Cambria Village Office at 920-348-5443 or [email protected]
Old Mill Foundation Didion Benefit Fund
%National Exchange Bank
118 West Edgewater Street
P.O. Box 338
Cambria, Wisconsin 53923
Photo courtesy of Alan Mannel