Fifth Worker Dies After Didion Mill Explosion in Cambria, WI

A fifth man has died from injuries he sustained in a May 31 explosion at Didion Milling in Cambria, WI. Carlos “Charly” Nunez died Friday, June 23 at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison burn unit, where he had been receiving treatment since the blast, according to a posting on the company’s Facebook page that evening:

“It is with sadness and sympathy we report the peaceful passing of Carlos “Charly” Nunez due to injuries sustained in the May 31 incident at our milling operation in Cambria. He will be missed more than words can express. The family thanks the University of Wisconsin Burn Unit doctors and nurses for their tireless efforts and encourage others to support and recognize their efforts in this very important work. The family has asked for privacy and space to grieve their loss and with the utmost compassion we request others to respect their wishes. The Didion Milling family and the community send our heartfelt condolences to the family. We ask for your continued thoughts and prayers for the family and for Didion Milling as we build a stronger future together here at Didion.”

Didion Milling in Cambria, WI Cited for Safety Violations

Didion, which employs more than 200 people in facilities in Johnson Creek, Cambria and Markesan, processes corn and corn by-products for ethanol plants. The Cambria location had been cited by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety violations prior to the fatal explosion, according to the agency’s records. Inspectors noted dust explosion risks twice in 2010, an amputation incident in 2012, a dust explosion risk in 2013, and fall risks twice in 2014.

Authorities have not yet determined what caused the explosion which occurred while 16 employees on the overnight shift were inside the Cambria lab building. Only two of them made it out safely.

Killed in the blast were Pawel Tordoff, 21, Duelle Block, 27 and Robert Goodenow, 53. Angel Reyes, 46, died one week later from his injuries. Three of the other ten employees who were injured suffered third-degree burns and other explosion injuries. They were airlifted to the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison where they remain hospitalized.

Located about 45 minutes northeast of Madison, the small community of Cambria has rallied to support the families of the injured and the dead. Neighbors have donated food, clothing, money and household items. There have two been silent auctions, a church-basement spaghetti dinner, a brat fry, three ice cream fundraisers, and a donut sale by Hurts Donuts that raised more than $10,000. All of them donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the Old Mill Foundation Didion Benefit Fund.

While the Columbus Sentry Market Ace Hardware and Pick n Save in Columbus collected donations in bins, the VFW and Markesan banks collected cash. A man is selling “Cambria has a Heart” t-shirts. One woman is selling home-baked kringle, a Scandinavian pastry; another is selling specialty chocolates.

To donate,  send checks made payable to the Old Mill Foundation Didion Benefit Fund to:

Old Mill Foundation Didion Benefit Fund
National Exchange Bank
118 West Edgewater Street
P.O. Box 338
Cambria, WI  53923

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Category: Explosion, Fire and Burn Injuries
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