5 Injured in Steam Dryer Explosion

Federal officials have opened an investigation into the incident.

At about 7:45 on Tuesday morning, an explosion in a sugar beet pulp steam dryer injured five workers at Amalgamated Sugar in Idaho.

According to a company spokesperson, four workers received first aid on-site, and a fifth was taken to an area hospital as a precautionary measure. The worker taken to the hospital walked to the ambulance without assistance. 

The employees were opening the steam dryer. As a part of standard procedure, the workers were outfitted with fire-protection gear. 

According to the Idaho Press, OSHA has opened an investigation into the incident. Initial reports say property damage appears minimal, and the cause of the explosion remains unclear.

According to the AP, Amalgamated Sugar is the second-largest sugar beet processor in the U.S. Other than a halt to drying sugar beet pulp operations, production didn’t stop at the plant. 

The Idaho Press reports four people have died at the Amalgamated Sugar plant in the last 35 years. The most recent fatality was in 2009, when a 45-year-old worker's body was found in an auger used to move sugar in the plant. At the time, the company agreed to pay $18,900 in fines related to the accident.

Amalgamated Sugar grows sugar beets on approximately 180,000 acres in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

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