The Harlan Fire Department along with Medivac Ambulance was called to the scene of a man trapped inside a grain bin late this (Thursday) morning. According to Harlan Fire Chief Roger Bissen, the call came in around 11am to 1135 1300th Street, for a subject that was trapped in the bin. Bissen said the man, whose name was not released, was helping unload the bin when he got caught.
“I’m not exactly sure what he was doing but he got his foot lodged down close to the auger but it never got into the auger, just wedged. He was about waist deep in the grain.” The chief says the fire department trains for such an event and worked hard to get him out. “So our protocol was to get the victim out. We got our equipment out and started to excavate the grain around the individual. We finally had to cut holes in the sides of the grain bin because we couldn’t get far enough down with our hands and equipment to get him unlodged.”
The department opened up the working door by the auger and three other holes to reach the victim. Bissen says Westphalia Fire Department was called to the scene to help and eventually the two departments were able to get the man out. “We did get him out. He was transported by Medivac to Myrtue and it took us about 4 and half hours. He may have some tissue damage to his foot. He was conscious the whole time, talking to us, some of the fire department members and EMTs. So we did start an IV on him and he was oriented and talking. He was actually helping move grain around him to keep his mind occupied.”
Lifeflight helicopter did land at the scene however the EMTs deemed the injuries were small enough to where he did not have to be transported to an Omaha area hospital. Bissen says the dangers of getting into a grain bin are big enough to where farmers need to stay out of the bins if at all possible while an auger is running. A dollar amount of damage was not given but the chief says the farmer will have to replace the door next to the auger and about six to eight sheets on the bin due to cutting them. Bissen says the rescue was a success due to the training of the fire department.
“We train in things all the time. Other specialized training we do is high angle rope rescue, trench rescue, confined space and water and ice rescue. Even though we have a wide variety of calls we go on and there are some of these higher tech rescue calls we very seldom get called on and they are few and far between, we still must be prepared for them. I just want to say that everybody on scene as an emergency responder did a great job.”