Search Crews Find Bodies of Missing Following Grain Elevator Blast

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The bodies of the last three victims of a weekend grain elevator explosion in Atchison, Kansas, have been recovered, officials said on Monday morning.

Six people were confirmed killed and two others injured in the blast on Saturday evening at the Bartlett Grain elevator. According to officials on the scene, about 11 people were loading a truck full of corn when the explosion happened. The blast sent a fireball rising high into the sky, and was felt as far as three miles away.

One student at Benedictine College reported that the explosion shook the dorms, and reports from people in downtown Atchison said some windows were blown out in downtown buildings.

People who are familiar with grain elevators say that under the right conditions, the structures can be extremely hazardous.

"There are 3 ingredients for fire - heat, oxygen and fuel.  The grain is excellent source of fuel. There is oxygen in the air so it just takes any sort of heat source," said Atchison city manager Trey Cocking.

Cocking says that the structure could smolder for up to a month.

The victims have been identified as Curtis Field, 21, Travis Keil, Chad Roberts, 20; Ryan Federinko, 21; and John Burke, 24. The identity of the sixth victim has not been released.

On Sunday, the family of Travis Keil, an Iraq War veteran and grain inspector for the state of Kansas, spoke to FOX 4 News.

"We all hope for the best and we hope our prayers work for him," said Keil's father, Gary Keil. "It just goes to show no matter where you home, war zone or whatever...accidents happen."

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. The identities of the victims have not been released.

Bartlett Grain President Bill Fellows said in a statement that workers were loading a train with corn when the explosion occurred, but the cause of the explosion remained unclear. The company brought in a South Dakota-based engineer with expertise in such accidents to help federal safety investigators at the scene.

Over the past four decades, there have more than 600 explosions at grain elevators, killing more than 250 people and injuring more than 1,000, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Last year, there were non-fatal grain explosions or fires in several states including Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, South Dakota and Louisiana.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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