One Dead Following Explosion at Riceland Plant in Stuttgart

MAY 16, 2006 - Posted at 2:26 p.m. CST

STUTTGART, AR - An explosion rocked a Riceland Foods plant in Stuttgart this morning, killing one person.

Company spokesman Bill Reed said two workers were repairing an empty tank used to process soybean oil when the explosion occured about 8:30 a.m.  Reed said one of the workers was killed.  The man's name was not released, pending notification of family members.

Reed said no one else was injured.

Stuttgart Fire Department Captain Kie Sherman said investigators aren't sure what exploded.

The workers were doing routine maintenance atop the Riceland Foods Soy Division storage building.  Emergency workers used a crane to reach the fatally injured man and lower him to the ground.  Sherman said the building wasn't on fire when firefighters arrived.

Riceland is a major soybean processor and rice exporter.  A cooperative, the company also provides marketing services for rice products, soybeans, and wheat.

Riceland's corporate headquarters are located in Stuttgart, and the company also operates a large elevator in west Jonesboro.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)