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Workers Burned in 2010 Silo Explosion Awarded $180 Million by Jury

Last Updated: 05 June, 2012

In April 2010, a fire ripped through a ConAgra silo and injured three men who were cleaning one area. This past week the three men were awarded $180 million by a jury.

John W. Jentz, Robert Schmidt and Justin Becker made up one cleaning crew that was working on the silo located in the Southern Illinois town of Chester. As the men were leaving the work area, a fire broke out. A fireball raced through the elevator shaft as the men were coming down.

The settlement will be split among the three men. Jentz was burned on 70% of his body. Becker’s lungs were scarred from inhaling fumes of the high heat fire. Schmidt was burned on his hands  and his head.

In the weeks before the explosion, managers at the ConAgra silo had been told by employees that there was smoke and a strange smell in the silo.  A chemical reaction had ignited grain pellets six weeks prior to the explosion. The jury found ConAgra and the contractor that hired the men to be negligent in not properly warning the men of potential hazards.

When accidents happen at a workplace, people can get injured at different levels. If you or a loved one knows someone who has been injured at the workplace, call Spiros Law, P.C. to explore your legal rights.