Three dead in mill explosion - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Three dead in mill explosion

by Colby Robertson

TOMAHAWK (WAOW) -- A deadly explosion at a lincoln county manufacturing plant kills three and leaves one injured.

This was the scene at Packaging Corporation of America in the town of Bradley, just outside of Tomahawk. Workers were emotional leaving the mill. There were tears and employees hugging, mourning the loss of their fellow co-workers and friends.

In a news conference Human Resources Manager Ron Zimmerman says, "There was four in the area. One was injured, and three were killed."

It all happened when an explosion occurred in a recycled fiber storage tank around 1:30 Tuesday afternoon.

Zimmerman says, "The three individuals were employees who were engaged in Maintenance activities on top of the tank when the explosion occurred. A fourth employee who was standing on a platform at a lower level of the tank was injured."

Zimmerman says the employees were doing "typical maintenance work" near an area where they get recycled fiber.

"Old cardboard boxes, waste area, recycled fiber, that we turn back into pulp and that tank will hold that pulp and then we'll send it to the machines to make packing paper."

While officials aren't releasing information on the exact cause, we do know all four involved in the explosion were men and employees of the mill.

"One was a very short time employee and the other three were there over 5 years."

The mill employs over 400 employees, all shocked and saddened by the loss and waiting for some answers as to how this could happen..

Zimmerman describes it as, "Hard, very hard. It's difficult"

Names of the victims have not been released and won't be until all family members have been notified. Federal Safety Investigators are also expected on the scene soon to investigate the cause of the explosion.

Online Reporter: Colby Robertson

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