US Chemical Safety Board Releases Preliminary Report On Didion Explosion

(Cambria) The US Chemical Safety Board has issued an investigative update on the fatal explosion at the Didion Milling plant in Cambria. Five people were killed and 14 injured in the May 31 blast. The report indicates that the CSB spoke with ten of the 14 survivors.

The workers indicated that the conditions at the mill on the night of the incident were “normal” up until just moments before the explosion. However, approximately 15 to 30 minutes before the deadly incident, workers saw or smelled smoke. Workers trying to find the source of the smell focused on what is called a gap mill, which grinds corn into smaller pieces through a process known as mechanical impact grinding. After inspecting the gap mill, workers witnessed an air filter from the intake line of the gap mill blow off, releasing corn product and flames from inside the equipment into the air, followed by multiple explosions throughout the milling facility.

The US Chemical Board does not levy fines or penalties but instead find ways to improve conditions to avoid repeated incidents. Didion is appealing a $1.8-million dollar fine handed down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Read the entire preliminary Chemical Safety Board report here:


Officials at the Didion Milling plant in Cambria have issued a statement following the US Chemical Safety Board report regarding the fatal explosion that occurred last May:

Didion is reviewing the Chemical Safety Board (the CSB) report released today and will continue to assist in efforts to learn what happened at our corn milling facility last May. We have been working cooperatively with the CSB as well as industry experts, on ongoing investigations into the incident to determine its cause. Throughout this process, Didion has reiterated our commitment to the safety of our employees. Our teams have worked diligently to ensure that industry safety practices and protocols are in place.

Didion pledges to continue to work cooperatively with the CSB and other agencies to maintain and enhance the safety of our team, which is our highest priority. We are also working with industry experts on construction of a new state-of-the-art corn mill, which will feature the latest technology and most effective and safe operational systems available today.