Coroner: Worker killed in Indiana grain elevator explosion identified, blast cause unknown

UNION MILLS, Ind. – Authorities have identified the worker killed in an explosion at a northwestern Indiana grain elevator.

LaPorte County Coroner John Sullivan said 67-year-old James Swank of Union Mills died in the explosion Monday afternoon at the Union Mills Co-op. The co-op is about 50 miles southeast of Chicago.

Sullivan says neighbours reported that a large explosion shook their homes. It was followed by a large amount of white smoke.

Shawn Lambert, safety manager for Avon, Ind.-based co-op owner Co-Alliance, says the explosion occurred inside a grain elevator with several connected silos.

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department Maj. John Boyd says Swank might have been loading grain into train cars at the time of the blast.

The cause of the blast remains undetermined.