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Indiana silo explosion kills employee James Swank

By KATE STANTON, UPI.com   |   June 24, 2013 at 9:37 PM   |   Comments

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June 24 (UPI) -- Officials with the LaPorte County Sheriff's Office confirmed Monday that 66-year-old James Swank, a resident of Union Mills, Ind., died when a grain elevator exploded, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Swank was reportedly an employee with the LaPorte County Co-Alliance at the time he was working at the Union Mills silo.

Authorities have yet to determine what caused the explosion, though Maj. John Boyd of the LaPorte County Sheriff's Department said that Swank could have been loading grain into cars at the time of the blast.

A Purdue University farm expert told WSBT that grain dust is unexpectedly explosive.

"It'll shake the countryside. There's a lot of power to it. But there's not really a lot of fire to it," he said.

Nearby residents described the impact of the blast as "extremely loud."

''It sounded like a train car derailing,'' Dylan Haynes, 13, said.

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