Sadly 6 employees of the Sugar Refinery that exploded yesterday were confirmed killed by the explosion. 2 are still missing and scores of others are badly injured.
They (investigators) suspect the explosion was set off by two factors:
-The sugar dust in the silos became to dry
-There was some kind of electrical charge (Possibly Static)
I've tried to do a little more reading on the subject today, and as Gary Allen was so kind to point out in response to the original post:
"Sugar is a fuel (remember that it contains 4 calories per gram... calories are a measure of stored energy). Any fuel, when mixed with the right amount of oxygen, can explode. Dust explosions, especially in flour mills, are an ever-present danger.
Conversely, if the oxygen/fuel ratio is not right, the fuel will just burn without exploding. That's why you can set liquid gasoline on fire -- but if there are gas fumes, lighting a match gets everyone's attention in a flash."
Im thumbing through that Sugar Refinery Manual I posted before just to try to get more info on the subject.
My heart goes out to the families effected by the tragedy.