July 27, 2023
At least eight people died, one was missing, and 11 more were injured after a series of explosions in a grain silo on Wednesday at an agricultural cooperative in southern Brazil, the government of Parana state said on Thursday.
The blast occurred at C.Vale cooperative in Palotina, about 370 miles from the state's capital of Curitiba. C.Vale is a major producer of soybeans, wheat and corn, and Parana is one of Brazil's top farm states.
Video distributed on social and traditional media showed a vast column of white smoke coming from the site, and Palotina residents reported feeling a tremor as windows in several homes were blown out.
"There was an explosion in one of the silos that triggered a second and a third," Parana fire brigade spokesman Tiago Zajac told AFP.
Jose Ricken, president of Parana's farm cooperative group OCEPAR, told reporters this was an isolated case, adding the explosion was fatal and that no similar incident had occurred in the area "in a long time."
C. Vale confirmed in a statement that a "large-scale accident hit our central grain reception unit in Palotina... due to causes yet to be determined."
Several dozen firefighters were deployed overnight to the municipality of about 30,000 residents to respond to the blast.
Fire Department Official Manoel Vasco said dogs were helping in the search of the missing worker potentially trapped under a pile of grains.
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