Enid mill to remain closed until cleanup from fire, explosion complete

Wednesday, January 26th 2005, 5:41 am
By: News On 6

ENID, Okla. (AP) -- A flour mill plant will remain closed until cleanup from a fire and explosion are complete, officials said.

Flour continued to smolder Tuesday from the ADM Milling plant, where two workers were injured on Monday.

Employee Wayne Rivers suffered second- and third-degree burns to his face and hands, and a broken shoulder and ribs from falling 15 to 20 feet. He was transferred Tuesday to the burn center at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City where he was listed in good condition, officials said.

Employee Robert Rogers suffered burns to the back of his head but was treated at an Enid hospital and released.

Company officials don't know how long it will take to clean up the damage, said Karla Miller, a spokeswoman for ADM's parent company, Archer Daniels Midland.

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but the flour ignited, Enid Deputy Fire Chief George Frye said. The resulting buildup of pressure in the bins probably caused the explosion, Frye said.

Areas of the plant were inaccessible and couldn't be closely examined by investigators, said Ken Helms, assistant fire marshal for the Enid Fire Department.

Something like a broken light fixture could have ignited the flour dust, although the plant is equipped with safety equipment to prevent that, Helms said.

"There was a failure in the system somewhere," he said. "The area is still too unstable, and we haven't gone in yet."

The bulk receiving area has a capacity of 1.4 million pounds of flour. About 280,000 pounds were being prepared for loading when the explosion occurred.

Frye said the roof lifted off the ground and came down on the bins from the force of the explosion. He said the building is destroyed, although company damage reports have not been made.