Officials: Mechanical failure cause of Union Mills explosion

By: John Hanlon Email
By: John Hanlon Email

Union Mills, Ind. Investigators have determined the June 24 Union Mills Co-Alliance grain elevator explosion was caused by dust igniting after a shaft and pulley mechanical failure in the basement of the building.

The entire LaPorte County structure, including the shaft and pulley system, had just been inspected on the Thursday before the explosion.

The Monday afternoon blast killed 67-year-old James Swank of Union Mills. Co-Alliance says Swank had worked at the co-op for seven years. No other injuries were reported.

Part of the town was evacuated the day after the explosion when flames were seen shooting from the site. The fire was quickly put out and residents returned to their homes in under two hours.

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