Francesville Grain Elevator Explosion Injures Two

Tate & Lyle officials discuss next steps after an unsuccessful attempt to use a drone camera to view damage from Monday’s explosion at their Francesville facility. It was too windy for the unmanned device to fly.

Authorities in Pulaski County are investigating the cause of a grain elevator explosion that sent two people to a hospital with serious burn injuries.

It happened just after 2 p.m. yesterday at the Tate & Lyle facility on Bill Street in Francesville, according to deputy town marshal Robert Hickman.

“As a result of the explosion and subsequent fireball, there were two people that were seriously burned. They were transported from the scene by Pulaski County EMS to a landing zone at the fellowship hall north of the town, where they were then flown out to the burn unit in St. Joe Hospital in South Bend,” Hickman said.

He adds one was a Tate & Lyle employee, and the other one was a truck driver. Their names have not been released, and there’s no word on their conditions. Nearby residents described the explosion as sounding like a bomb detonating and the resulting fireball as looking like fireworks. Hickman adds there was no visible fire coming from the structure when firefighters arrived. Damage to the concrete silo as a result of the explosion hampered the response effort, as firefighters were unable to enter the building due to safety concerns.

Attempts to use a drone camera to get a better look at the inside of the structure were unsuccessful due to the wind. The Rensselaer and Monticello Fire Departments brought ladder trucks and platforms, but they were not tall enough to reach the top of the silo in order to assess damage.

Firefighters from Francesville, Medaryville, Monon, Buffalo, Monticello and Rensselaer responded, along with the Pulaski County Emergency Management Agency, Francesville and Monon Police Departments and the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department.

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