On February 7, there was a massive explosion at the JCG Feed Mill in Rockmart, Georgia, killing one. Eight people were inside the mill when it exploded. Those injured include 19-year-old Dallas Holcombe, who was injured trying to rescue co-worker Tyler Morgan. Morgan remains in critical condition. Randy Dodd, James Lentz, and a third unidentified man all remain hospitalized.
Initial reports indicate the JCG Feed Mill explosion could be heard up to a mile from the plant, indicating that this was a massive explosion. Because this explosion involves a workplace death, OSHA will investigate the cause of the explosion and, more likely than not, issue citations to the controlling employer of the feed mill.
JCG Feed Mill was purchased by Koch Foods in 2013, after the bankruptcy of Cagle’s, Inc. The Feed Mill was used to support Koch Foods poultry operations in Georgia.
Feed mills like the JCG Mill are often prone to grain explosions, particularly if the mill or its silos do not contain adequate deflagration venting or dust collection devices. The grain handling industry is considered by OSHA to be a high hazard industry. Over the last 35 years, there have been over 500 explosions in grain handling facilities across the United States, which have killed more than 180 people and injured more than 675. Grain dust is the main source of fuel for explosions in grain handling. Grain dust is highly combustible and can burn or explode if enough becomes airborne or accumulates on a surface and finds an ignition source OSHA standards require that both grain dust and ignition sources must be controlled in grain elevators to prevent these often deadly explosions.