by BETTER FARMING STAFF
Hospital officials today said Dann Eedy, 25, is in critical condition while Joshua Purdy, 15, remains in serious condition. Media reports Sunday said both were in serious condition after being airlifted to the hospital following the noon-hour explosion in an older style finishing barn at 43795 Bridge Road, Huron East. The injured were described as “barn owner and an employee” by the Ministry of Labour. Police said the explosion took place when the pair were draining manure inside the barn.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour, the Electrical Safety Authority and the Ontario Fire Marshall’s Office are all involved in the investigation, along with Huron OPP. The Labour ministry inspector at the scene issued seven orders and seven companion stop-work orders. A stop-work order was issued on the processing or transfer of manure from the feed room to the main hallway pit until there is “adequate ventilation from gas vapor or fume and that this gas vapor or fume does not reach hazardous levels or is not capable of forming an explosive mixture with air.” Six of the stop-work orders were for electrical problems. “Electrical cover plates were missing from valve control panels and boxes.” Ministry spokesperson Matt Blajer said the orders will be in place until repairs are complete and inspected.
The scene, following the explosion, has been under the control of the fire marshal who is working with a fire protection engineer to determine the exact cause.
According to information received by Better Farming, the 100 acre property where the explosion took place, Lot 13 Concession 4, McKillop Ward of Huron East was acquired by 2182409 Ontario Ltd. in 2008.
The minutes of a Huron East council meeting last April, show Eedy, on behalf of the numbered company, received a minor variance from minimum distance separation rules and build a new weaner barn with manure storage under it. The weaner barn was to replace an existing structure, which would then be used to sort and load pigs.
Bill Siemon, 63, a local councillor for Huron East ward of McKillop for 25 years, says he knows Dann's parents. They farm in McKillop. Siemon says Dann's mother is a loans manager at the credit union in Clinton. Siemon, a farmer and a retired insurance agent describes Dann Eedy as a "go-getter" and "just starting out."
Neighbours didn't oppose the construction of the new weaner barn, which was to replace an existing barn that would be used to sort and ship pigs. "That says the neighbours wanted him there," Siemon says. "It's good to see a young fellow taking over a farm," Siemon says.
The 15 year old who was injured "is a neighbour a mile and a quarter to the south.
"He just got himself a job," Siemon says. "He would have to be a pretty good worker" to be there on a Sunday.”
Siemon says he has never heard of a methane explosion from manure in a barn. "I don't think we will know the truth" about what happened until the final reports are in from the labour board which is investigating the explosion, he added.
Sources close to the scene report that family members have pitched in to help with chores. BF