Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fire in U.K. Factory-Potential Cloudburst

The fire in the manufacturing site’s main vent and piping was caused by a faulty extractor fan.

A firefighter who was at the scene called the incident a "close call" and said the blaze could have led to a "cloudburst" operation – declared after major accidents like chemical leaks.

Never heard about a “Cloudburst Operation," until now What sort of potential cloudburst situation are they referring to in the news article?

Posted via web from ComDust

School Fire causes $300k damage in Wood Shop

fire began when a spark from a circular saw being operated by a staff member ignited sawdust and set fire to the extractor system.

Globally it is a regular occurrence at educational institutions of fires occurring in the dust collector systems. NFPA 664: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities is an excellent resource in providing guidance of best engineering practices for minimizing the severity and reducing the consequence of future incidents. Would a spark detection and flame suppression system minimized the $300,000 of damage in this incident? News Video

Posted via web from ComDust

Explosion Hazards in Baghouses and Dust Collectors

Transport of sparks through ducts. ...This spark and the hot gas associated with the spark can travel hundreds of feet in a duct... Spark suppressors are placed in the duct to change the laminar flow to turbulent (coarse) flow. This agitation or turbulence strips the air from around the ember and cools the spark below ignition temperature.

Gary Berwick, P. Eng. at Quality Air Management shares with readers his informative article, "Explosions and Fires; Baghouses, Cartridge Dust Collectors." Fascinating video on the QUENCHER™ in-line spark arrester device for spark Cooling and air blending for dust collection systems.

Posted via web from ComDust

Quencher spark arrester Video

Combustible Dust Housekeeping with Vacuums

Vacuum Cleaning = First Defense Against Dust
In nearly all industries, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends vacuum cleaning as the preferred first defense method of controlling fugitive dust. NFPA 654 states “vigorous sweeping or blowing down with steam or compressed air produces dust clouds.”

Informative article on housekeeping and the importance of using a vacuum in cleaning accumulations of combustible dust. Housekeeping violations were the second most cited violation according to the recent OSHA Combustible Dust NEP status report.

Posted via web from ComDust

Housekeeping Solutions
by Walter L. Frank, P.E. and Mark L. Holcomb, MS, CIH, CSP

Friday, December 25, 2009

Proposed Combustible Dust PSM Standard

Here is an idea on how a proposed OSHA Combustible Dust Process Safety Management Standard (PSM) could look like as an alternative regulatory approach. The commonality of combustible dust fire and explosion hazards in the workplace is process equipment. The most controversial aspect of a proposed ComDust PSM would be the threshold level. This is an area were valuable input from all stakeholders is needed. Many elements of PSM already are incorporated in the NFPA Combustible Dust Standards. So what do you think?

Posted via email from ComDust

Thursday, December 24, 2009

NIOSH Absent: Combustible Dust Rulemaking Agenda

Reflecting on the recent OSHA Combustible Dust ANPRM stakeholder meeting that was held in Washington, D.C on December 14, 2009 it is becoming even more apparent through researching the background of the OSHA Grain Facility Standard that many key stakeholders are not participating in the rulemaking process. Several of the potential participants that were absent would be academia, state government, insurance industry, fire protection officials, and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

NIOSH has the most extensive background than any stakeholder in understanding the complexities of combustible dust explosions through the extensive research on the subject at it's Pittsburg Research Laboratory in addition to their participation in the development of the OSHA Grain Facility Standard.

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 in addition to creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also created a sister agency the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the Department of Health and Human Services. Congress has directed through the OSH Act that the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall:

(1) provide for the establishment and supervision of programs for the education and training of employers and employees in the recognition, avoidance, and prevention of unsafe or unhealthful working conditions in employments covered by this Act, and

(2) consult with and advise employers and employees, and organizations representing employers and employees as to effective means of preventing occupational injuries and illnesses.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Now the big question is why hasn't the Secretary of Labor sought consultation with NIOSH on combustible dust explosions? Especially when the Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, formed as the U.S. Bureau of Mines, has been conducting studies and research on dust explosions for over a 100 years. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Chemistry also conducted studies on dust explosions during this period, whose work became the foundation for the NFPA Combustible Dust standards. In the past six years the only consultation that DOL, through Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has sought has been with the Chemical Safety Board combustible dust hazard recommendations.

This is a reactive position with the utilization of CSB as the sole governmental agency provider of recommendations in the combustible dust rulemaking process following recent catastrophic dust explosions. A more proactive position would be to utilize the excellent resources of NIOSH, an agency that was actively engaged in the development of the OSHA Grain Handling Facilities Standard three decades ago.

For example, in the preamble for the Grain Handling Facilities Final Rule, NIOSH stated, "the danger of fires and explosions is "ever present in the industry because of the physical characteristics of organic dust that is generated while handling and processing grain" (52 FR 49595). Prior to the Final Rule NIOSH, OSHA, and the Department of Agriculture contracted with National Materials Advisory Board, which functions under the auspices of the National Research Council (NRC), the operational arm of the National Academies, in conducting extensive dust hazard studies following the series of catastrophic grain facility explosions in 1977.

NIOSH's Mining Safety and Health Research Division
The National Academy of Sciences completed four reports between 1980 and 1984: Investigation of Grain Elevator Explosions; Prevention of Grain Elevator and Mill Explosions; Pneumatic Dust Control in Elevators; and Guidelines for the Investigation of Grain Dust Explosions. The data on ignition sensitivity and explosion severity in these reports was compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Mines 1961 research on combustible dust explosions. Unfortunately in 1995, Congress shutdown the U.S Bureau of Mines and transferred it's activities to other Federal agencies.

Much of the background information that stakeholders utilize today in the identification, evaluation, and control of combustible dust hazards originated from the in-depth research that the
U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted at the Pittsburgh Research Center. NIOSH's Mining Safety and Health Research Division collaborative efforts with the Mine Safety Heath Administration (MSHA) has effectively eliminated mining fatalities, injuries, and illnesses through research and prevention. Since 1910, fatalities decreased from more than 3,000 per year to 34 in 2009.

Additionally, Congress in Section 20 of OSH Act has stated concerning Research and Related Activities (a) (1) The Secretary of Health and Human Services, after consultation with the Secretary and with other appropriate Federal departments or agencies, shall conduct (directly or by grants or contracts) research, experiments, and demonstrations relating to occupational safety and health, including studies of psychological factors involved, and relating to innovative methods, techniques, and approaches for dealing with occupational safety and health problems.

So where is NIOSH now and why hasn't the agency been involved in seeking methods and approaches in assisting stakeholders in developing layers of protection concerning workplace combustible dust related fire and explosion hazards? It makes no sense to reinvent the wheel when this governmental agency already has over a century of expertise on this complex topic.

NIOSH Intramural Programs
Already NIOSH has a superior infrastructure with it's intramural programs that could possibly address combustible dust hazards in the workplace. For instance, the Education and Information Division (EID) develops and transfers information and provides recommendations to foster prevention of occupational injuries, Then there is the Division of Applied Research and Technology (DART), which provides national and international leadership in research focused on the prevention of occupational illness and injury by developing and evaluating:

  • Methods and tools to identify and quantify workplace hazards (chemical, physical, organizational)
  • Strategies and technologies to control exposures to workplace hazards.

Finally, the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory would be an excellent NIOSH resource in providing useful information to OSHA concerning the donning of Flame Resistant Clothing/PPE in the workplace where combustible dust flash fire hazards are present.

National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH
It appears from what currently is occurring in contrast to what Congress intended in the OSH Act is not being fully pursued in addressing workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses in a comprehensive manner.. For example, in Section 7 of the Act, Advisory Committees; Administration:

(a) (1) There is hereby established a National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health consisting of twelve members appointed by the Secretary, four of whom are to be designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, without regard to the provisions of title 5, United States Code, governing appointments in the competitive service, and composed of representatives of management, labor, occupational safety and occupational health professions, and of the public. The Secretary shall designate one of the public members as Chairman. The members shall be selected upon the basis of their experience and competence in the field of occupational safety and health.

(2) The Committee shall advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Secretary and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on matters relating to the administration of the Act.

Reviewing the Meeting Agendas and Minutes of previous National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH) meetings it is a bit unusual that there has not been any discussion on combustible dust workplace fire and explosion hazards. Combustible dust explosions was a big issue back in 2003 following the rapid succession of explosions at three different manufacturing facilities.

There were several NACOSH meetings in 2003 and several more since then yet it appears that the combustible dust hazards was not a main topic amongst stakeholders. So I guess it should not be so much of a surprise that proportionate stakeholder participation is lacking at the recent OSHA ComDust ANPRM meeting.

Status Report ComDust NEP
There is a diverse conflicting aspect between OSHA and NIOSH, where one agency believes strongly in enforcement and citation activities rather than education, research, and outreach. This aspect was most evident in the October 2009 release of the status report on the Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program. From October 2007 through June 2009 over 1,000 inspection where conducted that tallied over 2,200 combustible dust citations.

The main problem was that the majority of facilities that had been inspected previously prior to the Dust NEP had not received combustible dust citations. In contrast, after the OSHA inspectors received their recent specialized combustible dust NEP training and began inspecting facilities, the tally of citations skyrocketed catching the manufacturing sector off-guard. An educational approach for businesses prior to citation activities would of been more appropiate. This is where OSHA collaboration with NIOSH would of helped.

NIOSH activity in regards to forming working proactive alliances with business concerning workplace health and safety is in conflict with OSHA's strong enforcement activities. Many small businesses are not even aware of the assistance that NIOSH offers concerning research, surveillance, prevention/intervention, information, and training. A visit to OSHA's website main page has no mention of
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

National Occupational Research Agenda
An innovative concept that NIOSH is pursuing concerns their outreach to eight industrial sectors which includes manufacturing in addition to 24 cross-sector programs organized around adverse health outcomes, statutory programs and global efforts. NIOSH fulfills their mission goals through developing practical solutions, research, partnerships, and research to practice (r2p).

Just recently the comment period ended for the Manufacturing sector National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) partnership program to stimulate innovative research and improved workplace practices. Combustible dust hazards would be an appropriate topic to add to NORA manufacturing sector content. Where in Strategic Goal #10 Catastrophic Incidents: Reduce the number of catastrophic incidents (e.g., explosions, chemical accidents, or building structural failures) in the manufacturing sector.

Strong enforcement and citation activity is a great goal to pursue in minimizing fatalities and injuries in the workplace. But if the facility owners and managers don't have the educational resources to understand the complexities of controlling combustible dust hazards, then all that will result will be just be chaos. The impact of regulatory costs for the the proposed combustible dust regulation has not even appeared yet on the national horizon.

U.S. Small Business Administration

For instance the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, “Statistics of U.S. Businesses: Firm Size Data," illustrated that nearly 75% of manufacturing sector firms are small businesses, employing less than 20 workers. OSHA regulations account for 53% of the cost of all workplace regulations, according to Joseph M. Johnson (2005), "A Review and Synthesis of the Cost of Workplace Regulations," in Cross-Border Human Resources, Labor and Employment Issues. Kluwer Law International: Netherlands. So will small business be financially able to immediately implement best engineering abatement controls?

These are some tough questions to answer during the nation's worst recession in over a half a century with businesses shutting down throughout the country on a daily basis. The most economical aspect in addressing combustible dust hazards would be education and outreach. Where was the OSHA Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs (DCSP) in addtion to the Directorate of Training and Education (DTE) during the recent OSHA Combustible Dust ANPRM Stakeholder Meeting? It's troubling that there is no OSHA Outreach Training Programs for combustible dust yet OSHA inspectors receive specialized training on combustible dust so as to write more citations. Where is the balance for the business sector?

With the huge chasm of different approaches that OSHA and NIOSH currently has in addressing complex workplace combustible dust fire and explosion hazards there will be a tough hill to climb in assisting the nation's manufacturing sector in prevention and mitigation strategies. A single page on Combustible Dust that OSHA provides online with a safety alert and poster is not going to provide and reach the majority stakeholders , consisting of small businesses, with the vast amount of information that is direly needed. Maybe a visit across the Mall to E Street at Patriot Plaza would be in order so OSHA and NIOSH can marshal their resources effectively as the Congress outlined in the OSH Act?

Coal-Dust Explosion Tests-USBM 1913-1918
Prevention of Grain Elevator and Mill Explosions 1982
Conference Grain Dust Fire & Explosions-1920
Preventing Dust Explosions-Scientific American 1921
Grain Dust Explosions Investigations-1918

Here is some additional background info where the subject of NIOSH reorganization that was more in line with the Congressional mandates of the OSH Act, that was brought up in 2004-2005.

The Future of NIOSH A View from Inside

Change at CDC Draws Protest

Effective Reorganization for NIOSH-September 2004 -
CDC Proposes Staff Cuts For NIOSH

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Safe handling of combustible dusts: Precautions against explosions

Excellent resource from the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE is responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into workplace risks in England, Wales, and Scotland.

The free 41 page .pdf document provides helpful information on the prevention and mitigation of combustible-dust-related explosions and fires, Information can be easily understood for use by employers, employees, managers, foremen and EHS professionals working in the many manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. Provides in an easy to read manner, terminology, the hazardous potential, and examples of layers of protection to control the risk.

In addition to the content in this document readers are also encouraged to review the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 and Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres. This will assist stakeholders in obtaining a more in-depth view of possible alternative regulatory approach to the OSHA proposed combustible dust rulemaking.

One major aspect that was overlooked in the OSHA Combustible Dust ANPRM is that dust forms a potentially explosive atmospheres like gases, vapors, and mists. In the U.K and European Union concerning their regulations, an explosive atmosphere is defined a mixture with air, under atmospheric conditions, of flammable gases, vapors, mists or dusts in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture.

A potentially explosive atmosphere is an atmosphere which could become explosive due to local and operational conditions. So how come OSHA or the Chemical Safety Board can't acknowledge what our international trading partners already understand? A separate OSHA combustible dust standard that deviates from the family of other explosive atmospheres is treading into some dangerous waters.

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regs 2002
Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres
Fire & Explosions-DSEAR (brochure)

Posted via web from ComDust

Large Machine Ignited ?

fire was contained mainly to the large machine, which is approximately 11 feet tall, four feet wide and four feet deep. The machine collects fine metal shavings

Hmm, I wonder what this could be? The fire chief, in the news account, mentions that the machine collects fine metal shavings. Information on their website mentions that the Massachusetts ISO 9001 certified facility manufactures spring loaded devices, ball plungers, leveling devices and mechanical components to all major industries since 1943.

Posted via web from ComDust

Grain Elevator Explosion in Texas-When all Heck Broke Loose (1976)

Emergency response radio transmission with phone calls & radio traffic synchronized as it occurred real time in the Houston Fire Department dispatch office when the Goodpasture Grain Elevator Exploded in Galena Park, Texas February 22 1976. This was prior to the OSHA Grain Facility Standard was implemented

Part 2 Radio Transmissions
Part 3

Posted via web from ComDust

Chadron, Nebraska Grain Elevator Catches Fire

The Chadron grain elevator is one of 19 that the company operates in five states. These facilities must adhere to the OSHA Grain Facility Standard in the prevention of fires and explosions. No matter how many layers of protection are instituted only the probability and severity can be minimized.

In the current OSHA Combustible Dust proposed rulemaking process, the agency intends to prevent all explosions and fires in the manufacturing sector. How can this be done when fuel loads and potential ignition sources are constantly present during the production process both in the grain industry and manufacturing sector?

Posted via web from ComDust

OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Input-Grain Industry

The afternoon panel, which included the NGFA's Maness, consisted of a more balanced representation of NFPA and industry representatives.  Maness urged the agency not to adopt NFPA standards, in part because they are not subjected to economic impact studies before being approved.  He also noted that there are many elements in NFPA standards, such as facility design, construction and operational considerations, that are inappropriate, impractical or unachievable.

James E. Maness, president of JEM Safety Consultants, Rehoboth, Del. provided some very informative input concerning the possible OSHA regulatory approach to the proposed combustible dust rulemaking. The above excerpt is from the National Grain and Feed Association website, titled,"NGFA Participates in OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting (12/17/09)"

Posted via web from ComDust

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's the fires, stupid! Mfg Plant Two Fires, One Day

Bell said there was a small explosion in one of the silos in the first one of the day. It did damage to the top of the silo, he said, and the fire was contained within the silo.

Wood Window and Door Manufacturing plant in Bayport, MN has two fires and one explosion in one day. It's not unusual from the over 150+ combustible incidents that occurred in 2008 when a Fire Chief mentions to reporters that It's not uncommon to have a fire..."

OSHA does not realize that the majority of incidents in the manufacturing sector are combustible dust related fires. In these incidents workplace fatalities and injuries are rare. Instead the flurry of national press releases that OSHA posts on their site stating that all combustible dust incidents are explosions resulting in fatalities and injuries. This is an inaccurate statement of reality and does not address the heart of the problem. So how many facilities could of been proactively engaged in addressing layers of protection if an accurate depiction of probability of occurrence and severity of consequence was provided?

So what do you think? Should the OSHA proposed combustible dust rulemaking process be solely centered on secondary dust explosions that occur due to poor housekeeping. What about the combustible dust related fires that are a local and regional jurisdictional issue and not federal.

The proposed combustible dust rulemaking does not address the antiquated OSHA General Industry Standards. This fact was illuminated through the recent OSHA ComDust NEP status report where 90% of the citations were General Industry citations, (see figure 6) such as HazCom, Housekeeping, Powered Industrial Trucks, PPE, and Hazardous (Classified) Locations.

Combustible Dust NEP Status Report - October 2009
"It's the economy, stupid"

Posted via web from ComDust

Hazard Communication -MSDS-Wood Dust

Hazard Communication. I like this MSDS Sheet that Radiance Wood Products has prepared. The stakeholder communicates the hazard to the workers that this wood dust is potentially explosive. As you review the MSDS, notice that the minimum explosive concentration MEC (lower flammability limit) and minimum ignition temperature MIT (autoignition temperature) is included.

So what do you think? Should more fire and explosion physical properties be included?

Posted via web from ComDust

Global Scope of Explosive Atmospheres
Here is an illustrative global view of potentially explosive atmospheres which includes combustible dust. This is a slide from the presentation that was made at the 5th SIEEE meeting, 2 September 2009, Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Frank Lienesch was the Coordinator, Sectoral Initiative on Equipment for Explosive Environments. The session also reviewed the work underway by the Initiative and in particular the survey of the regulatory environment in the sector of Equipment for Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere

The specific purpose of the Sector Project is to develop common regulatory objectives (CROs) for the regulation of placing Equipment and Services for Explosive Environments placed on the market. The CROs shall include area classification, verification of the equipment and its production, installation, inspection, maintenance, repair and the related conformity assessment procedures for products, services and competency of personnel. The aim is to eliminate barriers against the free trade of equipment and services. This goal is quite similar to Global Harmonization Standard concerning the Hazard Communication Standard that OSHA is seeking comments on.

In regards to the current proposed OSHA Combustible Dust Standard it would benefit all stakeholders to address combustible dust under the same framework where flammable gases, vapors, and mists also present a potentially explosive environment. It does not make sense to separate combustible dust from the other explosive atmospheres. What do you think?

Equipment for Explosive Environments (SIEEE) .pdf
Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and
Standardization Policies (WP.6)

Posted via email from ComDust

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Update-OSHA ComDust ANPRM Stakeholder Meeting

The OSHA Combustible Dust ANPRM stakeholder meeting will be held December 14, 2009, at the Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th Street, N.W. ,Washington, DC. Two meeting will be held, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. 35 participants have been selected for each meeting. Participants are only allowed to participate in the discussions in one session but are allowed to observe in the other.

Dates/Times for the stakeholder meetings are:

• December 14, 2009, at 9 a.m., in Washington, DC
• December 14, 2009, at 1 p.m., in Washington, DC
• Additional meetings are planned for early 2010, and will be announced in
one or more subsequent notices.

Agenda OSHA ComDust ANPRM Meeting

On a first come first serve basis the public is allowed to observe the stakeholder sessions. The most recent information obtained from the OSHA ANPRM contact indicates there will be seating for 120 observers in each stakeholder session. So get there early to ensure you can obtain a seat.

Breakfast Discussion

Early in the morning, prior to the OSHA ComDust ANPRM meeting there will be a Breakfast Discussion hosted by the Combustible Dust Policy Institute across the street at 1000 H Street NW in the Grand Hyatt Washington, upstairs in the Latrobe Room (Constitution Level 3B) from 7:00 A.M. -8:30 A.M. The gathering will provide an opportunity for a cross spectrum of stakeholders to briefly discuss, compare notes, and share ideas on important aspects of the OSHA Combustible Dust Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM).

The Latrobe Meeting Room will also be open after the Breakfast Discussion for stakeholders that wish to network and discuss important topics concerning the combustible dust rulemaking process. Additionally, during the lunch break from 12:00-1:00 P.M. the Latrobe Room will also be open so stakeholders can meet prior to the afternoon 1:00 P.M. -4:00 P.M. OSHA ComDust ANPRM stakeholder meeting.

OSHA General Industry Standards
It's interesting to note that the Stakeholder Meeting Agenda has no mention in the suggested points of group discussion, topics concerning OSHA General Industry Standards. For instance, out of the over 2,200 combustible dust citations in the recent Status Report on Combustible Dust NEP, 90% of the combustible dust citations were from the OSHA General Industry Standards. By simply adding the words, "combustible dust," in the General Industry Standards of housekeeping, hazard communication, ventilation, PPE, and Subpart L Fire Protection would clear up much of the confusion concerning administrative and best engineering controls.

Hazard Mitigation
A major topic and a concern to all is hazard mitigation. Yet in the national dialogue there is no mention of personnel protection equipment such as flame resistant clothing (FRC's), which minimizes the extent of severe burn injuries from flash fires. Over 80% of combustible dust incidents in 2008 were combustible dust related fires where in several instance personnel received severe burns which could of been minimized if they had donned FRC's. Another important aspect of hazard mitigation, which should be the foundation of all other layers of protection is inherent safe design, which utilizes minimization, substitution, moderation, and simplification.

Contact Info-Breakfast Discussion
Please contact me if you desire to attend the Breakfast Discussion so as to ensure there is adequate seating. Currently, I've reserved space in the Latrobe Room for 35 participants. Please send an email to and I'll reply promptly. Thank you.

Pyroban-Explosion Proof (EX)ForkLifts
Dantherm Filtration, Inc-Dust Extraction
Nilfisk CFM- Explosion Proof Vacuums
Ashburn Hill Corp.-Flame Resistant Clothing
Fauske Associates, LLC -Combustible Dust Testing


Federal Register Notice-OSHA ComDust ANPRM Stakeholder Meeting
Registration-ANPRM Stakeholder Meeting
OSHA Combustible Dust; Proposed Rule
Google Map Stakeholders Meetings-Washington, D.C.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dust explosion rocks plant

DUST EXPLOSION Dust explosion rocks North Portland Land O' Lakes plant (an explosion at the plant at about 8:30 p.m. caused about $100,000 - the explosion was on the third-floor of the plant - a machine called "corn cracker" had created a dust explosion - no employees were in the area of the blast - the "corn cracker" mixes hot and cold materials that are distributed to other parts of the plant - it overheated and created the dust explosion which sent embers into several silos - it took fire crews two hours to locate and put out hot spots in the building and the silos)


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