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CEO says cause of deadly explosion at Didion Milling remains unknown

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Didion Milling Plant explosion

CAMBRIA — The head of a southern Wisconsin milling and ethanol company where five people were killed in an explosion says it will be rebuilt with the best available technology for safety and efficiency.

Didion Milling CEO John Didion told the Cambria Village Board on Monday night, July 3rd that the milling facility, which was severely damaged in the May 31 explosion, will be torn down starting next week. He says work at the company’s nearby ethanol plant can resume not long after that’s done.

Didion says he still doesn’t know what caused the blast. Federal regulators are still investigating.

In the meantime, Didion says he’s been reaching out to local employers to try to find work for his displaced workers while he pays their wages until he can call them back to work.

Below are details regarding some fundraisers to benefit the victims of the Didion Milling explosion:

Didion Benefit Fund Dinner and Auctions

Saturday, July 15th

410 East Edgewater Street at the C-F School

Dinner served 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Live Auction begins at 6:00 p.m.

Silent Auction held throughout evening (will end at 7:30 p.m.)

Pick ‘n Save, care of the Columbus location, will be providing dinner. For a minimum $8 donation, guests will be served signature meatloaf with mashed potatoes, freshly made coleslaw and a store-baked chocolate chip cookie. Attendees will also receive a choice of soda or water. All proceeds from dinner sales will go to the Didion Benefit Fund.

The Cambria Kiwanis Club will host a live auction at 6:00 p.m. with Randy Link and Dave Schroud as auctioneers.  There will also be a silent auction throughout the evening, ending at 7:30 p.m.  All proceeds from the auctions will go to the Didion Benefit Fund.

Just a few of the items being auctioned include:

  • ¼ beef with a $550 value donated by Adam Lemmenes and Brandon Meats
  • ½ hog with a value of $250 donated by Lisa Jurgerson and Country Meat Cutters
  • $800 value Brewers package with 4 Diamond box seats by the dugout, premier parking, and 4 club passes donated by Habush, Habush, & Rottier
  • $460 value two-night stay in a whirlpool suite at the Hayes Resort
  • Overnight stay at the Heidel House and dinner for two at Grey Rock
  • 45” rolling Craftsman tool box valued at $160 donated by Sentry Ace Hardware
  • Brewers basket with tickets to the Brewers vs Cubs game donated by Haaco
  • Handmade Adirondack chair with the back in the shape of the State of Wisconsin
  • Overnight stays at The Wilderness Resort, Great Wolf Lodge, and Heidel House

For a complete list of items contact the Cambria Village Office at 920-348-5443. Donations for the auctions can be dropped off at the Cambria Village Office by July 11th or contact Lois at 920-210-6547 or Melissa at 920-296-9254.

It’s not necessary to attend the meal to attend the auctions.

The Kattywampus Quilt Guild has made sixteen Prayer Quilts for the families most affected by the Didion Mill explosion. The Prayer Quilts will be available at this event for anyone interested in saying a prayer as they tie a knot to complete the final touches on the quilts before presenting them to the families.