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2 missing after deadly blast at Wisconsin milling plant

Company president says it's too early to determine the cause
By Gina Cherelus

(Reuters) — Recovery workers in Wisconsin were searching for two missing people on Thursday after an explosion and fire at a corn-milling plant killed at least one person, police said.

Seventeen employees were working at the Didion Milling plant about 130 kilometres northwest of Milwaukee, when the explosion occurred on Wednesday night, according to a press release from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Dennis Richards had originally told a news conference that there were 16 employees present at the facility.

Twelve people suffered injuries and were transported by helicopter or ambulance to hospitals, the press release said, while two escaped unharmed and two remained missing.

"This is very difficult for everybody that's been there, including the families that sat for hours waiting for some type of information," Richards said during the conference.

Richards declined to name the person who died, and said he did not know the details about the type of injuries sustained by those wounded.

The sheriff's department and fire department were working with Didion Milling to determine what caused the blast. The investigation is ongoing.

Riley Didion, president of the family-run business that was established some 40 years ago, appeared at the news briefing but offered few details. Didion said it was too early to determine a cause for the explosion.

Along with dry corn mill, the plant also makes ethanol. It was unclear whether the blast occurred in that part of the facility.

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