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2 explosions reported at grain elevators in S. Minnesota, 1 injured

One person was injured "as a direct result of the blast," officials said.
The incident in Sleepy Eye. 

The incident in Sleepy Eye. 

Two explosions were reported at grain elevators in Brown County, southern Minnesota, on Tuesday, resulting in one person being injured. 

An explosion was reported at the Farmer's Co-op of Hanska's Burdick Elevator at 201 N Water St. in New Ulm at 6:37 p.m. Tuesday. 

One person was hurt "as a direct result of the blast," the New Ulm Police Department said in a news release. They were taken to the hospital, with officials noting they were responsive at the scene. 

The State Fire Marshal and New Ulm Fire Department are investigating the incident. The amount of damage done to the elevator is being assessed. 

Multiple agencies responded, with crews staying at the scene for four hours. The New Ulm police and fire departments continue to monitor the scene, the release said. 

Earlier in the day, many of the same agencies responded to another reported explosion at a grain mill.

At around 4:45 a.m., an explosion was reported at the Christensen Family Farms feed mill at 23971 County Road 10 in Sleepy Eye, the Brown County Sheriff's Office said. 

No injuries were reported and no foul play is suspected. 

"Through a collaborative effort, all of Brown County came to the rescue to assist Christensen Farms this morning in an unfortunate incident," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post. "Every single fire department in Brown County, as well as Sleepy Eye Police Department and Brown County Deputies, were on scene."

The Sleepy Eye Fire Department was on the scene until 3:06 p.m. Tuesday. 

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The sheriff's office notes the amount of damage to the mill is undetermined and the incident is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal.

The grain handling industry is a risky business, with the U.S. Department of Labor calling it a "high hazard industry." The hazards include fires and explosions from grain dust, which is highly combustible and can burn or explode if enough of it becomes airborne or accumulates near an ignition source (hot bearing, overheated motor, misaligned conveyor belt, welding, cutting, and brazing). 

These explosions are often severe and lead to deaths, injury and "substantial" property damage, the Department of Labor says.

From 1976-2011, there were 503 grain handling explosions that caused 677 injuries and 184 deaths in the U.S., data show.

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