- The names of the victims are released
- All were employees of the grain elevator company
- The force of the Saturday-night blast was felt up to three miles away
A massive explosion at a grain elevator in northeastern Kansas has claimed six lives, authorities said Monday.
The force of the Saturday-night blast at Bartlett Grain Company in Atchison, Kansas, was felt by people up to three miles away, city officials said.
Authorities released the names of the six victims, all employees of Bartlett Grain: Chad Roberts, Ryan Federinko and Curtis Field, all of Atchison; John Burke of Denton, Kansas; Travis Keil of Topeka, Kansas, and Darrek Klahr of Wetmore, Kansas. They ranged in ages 20 to 43.
Following the explosion Saturday night, two other employees with extensive injuries were flown to hospitals.
Four more employees who were at the facility escaped the incident unharmed or with minor injuries, officials said.
Authorities continued to investigate the cause of the blast on Monday but city officials had released a statement earlier noting that dust from milled grain can be explosive under certain conditions, especially during dry weather when dust particles are highly combustible.
The city's statement also pointed out that rescue operations in such explosions can be difficult because workers are often scattered through the facility, making them difficult to locate.