Last week, two combustible dust explosions injured five people at two separate CHS, Inc. facilities in Minnesota. CHS, a Fortune 100 agricultural company that supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, livestock feed, food and food ingredients. The explosions occurred approximately 30 minutes apart at CHS facilities about 100 miles away from each.

The first explosion occurred around 1:30 last Monday afternoon at the CHS facility located in Tracy, Minnesota. The incident resulted in two injuries; one man was an employee of CHS, the other a non-employee truck driver. A spokesperson for CHS was quoted as saying,

 “There was a quick explosion involving the grain elevator leg, not the elevator itself, The leg is a piece that comes off the elevator that’s involved in the loading and unloading of grain.”

The second dust explosion occurred around 2:00 Monday afternoon in the prep area of a CHS soybean processing plant located in Fairmont, Minnesota. One CHS employee was treated for minor burns at the scene while two Fairmont firefighters were also treated for minor injuries.

According to Fairmont Fire Chief, Dough Borchardt, “the fire got into the conveyor system, and there was concern about the fire spreading into the extraction portion of the facility, which contains explosive hexane gas.” He continues, “We were able to cut it off from there, and then it was a matter of putting out the smoldering spots.” Firefighters were on the scene for nearly six hours. The extent of the damage is unknown, but Chief Borchardt indicated that fire crews had to tear off equipment and parts of the facility while fighting the fire throughout the building.