A Co-Alliance employee injured in yesterday’s grain elevator explosion in LaCrosse has been transferred from Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso to the burn unit at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago. Company officials confirm 26-year-old Chris Ford was moved yesterday. He suffered first and second-degree burns and remains sedated. A hospital official tells WKVI News he is in critical condition.
Jonah Pacione, 19, and Emilio Galicia, 43, were airlifted from LaCrosse to St. Joseph Burn Center in Fort Wayne. Pacione suffered burns over 30-percent of his body and remains in critical condition. Galicia is in serious condition with burns to 18 percent of his body, mostly to his hands, arms and face. The fourth employee, 34-year-old Craig Chase, has been released from Porter Memorial Hospital.
Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, OSHA and Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office are still investigating the cause of the explosion. It blew out the east side of the elevator just before 9 a.m. They’ve ruled out foul play and believe it was an industrial accident. The LaCrosse facility manufactures hog feed from rolled corn. Grain dust is highly combustible.