October 25, 2020

Three young men killed in Kansas grain elevator blast

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ATCHISON, Kan. (AP) — Three young men were killed in a thunderous explosion at a Kansas grain elevator and recovery efforts for three other people presumed dead were being hampered by the damage, authorities said late Sunday.

The blast, which shook the ground so hard that it was felt in neighbouring Missouri, was a harrowing reminder of the dangers workers face inside elevators brimming with highly combustible grain dust at the end of the harvest season.

The explosion Saturday night in Atchison, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City, sent an orange fireball into the night sky, shot off a chunk of the grain distribution building directly above the elevator and blew a large hole in the side of the one of its concrete silos.

The three Bartlett Grain Co. workers killed were identified late Sunday by local authorities as Chad Roberts, 20; Ryan Federinko, 21; and John Burke, 24. Two other employees were hospitalized with severe burns.

Bartlett officials decided to temporarily halt the search for three other people presumed dead — one worker and two grain inspectors — because of safety concerns inside the heavily damaged facility. In a statement late Sunday, company officials “It is apparent that they also were killed in the explosion.”

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