Grain Bin Rescue in MN


The Blooming Prairie Fire Department rescued a man stuck knee deep in soybeans in a grain bin on a farm northeast of Blooming Prairie on Friday, Sept. 5.
Blooming Prairie Fire Chief Dean Naatz said the man was feeling fine after the 4-hour rescue. Naatz would not release the person’s name. Naatz said the man was trying to keep soybean chunks from going up and clogging up the auger that was connected to the grain bin.
“He started sinking in the grain,” Naatz said.
According to a person who was on the site, the man was trying to dig himself out but couldn’t get past his knees because the grain kept coming back in.
This was the second grain bin rescue operation this year in Steele County. On May 19, Doug Morgan was almost buried alive in his grain bin southwest of Medford along the Steele-Waseca county line. Rescuers from three-area fire departments retrieved him out of the grain bin.
Both men were lucky to survive. According to statistics, nine out of 10 grain bin incidents end up in fatalities.
During Friday’s rescue, the fire department used new equipment recently donated from SunOpta to assist in the rescue. “For the first time it worked out pretty good,” Naatz said. He also credited the fire department’s training. “It really paid off.”
Firefighter Justin Krell, who was one of the firefighters inside the grain bin, said he was sure glad that they had the new equipment. “It aided in the process.”
The Ellendale and the Blooming Prairie Fire Departments recently received a donation of a rescue tube, auger and platforms to assist them with rescues from grain bins. The tube allows the victim to feel less trapped.
If a person is in the grain bin, the rescue tube is used to take pressure of grain off the person. Each of the four sections weighs 27 pounds. The first section is placed by a firefighter hanging from a harness at the front of the person in order to remove the grain from around the person’s face. Then each of the other sections is placed around the person before being hauled out by the firefighters.
The fire crews were called out around 2 p.m. on Friday and by 6 p.m. the firefighters had lifted the person from the grain bin. “There is nothing quick about a rescue,” Naatz said. “It helped that the person was alert. It gave us more time to work.”
The Blooming Prairie Ambulance Service assisted in the rescue.

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