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First victim of wood Mill explosion identified

The first of two bodies found at the site of an explosion and fire at a wood flour mill has been identified as William Barks.

The 51-year-old victim was among four workers missing following the blast and blaze which ripped apart the four-storey building in Bosley, Cheshire, on Friday.

Fire and rescue teams have also been searching for Dorothy Bailey, 62, Jason Shingler, 38, and 62-year-old Derek Moore.

A second body recovered from the scene on Tuesday has not yet been identified.

The families of the workers are due to visit the site on Thursday to see how the operation to find the missing was going and also to pay their respects.

Police admitted it would be "a difficult time for them all".

Mr Barks' body was recovered from the scene on Sunday night and a post-mortem examination was carried out.

His brother has paid tribute to the maintenance engineer, saying he was "so happy" and "so clever".

Kelvin Barks said his sibling was "the most happily married man you could ever set eyes on".

"He was so happy. Money was no object for him," he added.

He also praised his brother as "so clever" and an "amazing engineer".

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Mr Barks' family said he had been married for 31 "happy" years to Debbie and was "a loving father to Liam".

It added: "William enjoys building and restoring motorbikes and is a loving family man who lives a simple and happy life."

A series of explosions destroyed the mill owned by Wood Treatment Ltd.

Officers said an investigation was continuing to take place by the police and health and safety experts into what happened, including looking at the history of the company.

Meanwhile, the search operation was set to be temporarily suspended later for the demolition of three silos, about 8-10 metres high, at the scene, which have been causing "significant problems" for rescue teams.

In a statement, Cheshire Police said: "The removal of the silos will be carried out in a controlled environment but the procedure is expected to generate a significant amount of dust and noise.

"It is essential that the removal of the silos takes place to allow the emergency services to continue with the search and recovery process.

"During the removal process the search and rescue operation at the site will be paused and for health and safety reasons those working at the site will be moved to another location.

"Residents and businesses in the local area are advised not to be alarmed by the noise and dust from the site. However we recommend that all doors and windows are closed whilst the procedure is undertaken."

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