The explosion in Union Mills that took the life of one employee is still under investigation and no cause has yet been determined. According to LaPorte County Chief Deputy Jim Sosinski, the sheriff’s office received a call of an explosion at the Union Mills Co-Op on 800 South around 1:27 p.m., and upon their arrival, no flames were found but there was extensive damage to a grain elevator caused by the explosion. The explosion killed 67-year-old James Swank of Union Mills.
“Upon arrival, units found that the entire top half of the grain elevator was destroyed by some type of explosion. Also, due to the explosion, there was one employee death involved. Everybody is accounted for and, like I said, we had one death,” said Sosinski.
The investigation is in the hands of the LaPorte County Sheriff’s office as they await the arrival of officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the state fire marshal.
“The cause of the explosion is undetermined right now and we don’t really want to speculate on that until we get a definite cause of what caused this,” said Sosinski.
No other injuries were reported from the incident; fortunately, the effects of the explosion were mitigated by the behavior of the elevator during the explosion.
“There is damage to the top of the elevator. It appears to do exactly what it’s supposed to do when an explosion occurs; it goes out the top, and to the top half of the elevator, there is extensive damage up there,” Sosinski said.
Officials are waiting for the structure to be declared safe for entry before they can enter the elevator. More information will be released on the explosion as the investigation continues.