Shelby Grain Bin Fire update


November 27th, 2013 by Ric Hanson

Firefighters from several western Iowa departments remained on the scene of a grain bin fire east of Shelby until about 10-a.m. Wednesday, or more than 7-hours after it was first reported. Crews from Shelby, Avoca, Harlan, Minden and Defiance were called to the scene north of Interstate 80, at 33804 400th Street. Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker told the Omaha World-Herald the bin, which was worth about $30,000, contained about $60,000 in corn that was being dried. Officials say most of the corn was only damaged, and not destroyed. So it was still be used as cattle feed.

Avoca Assistant Fire Chief Keenan Martin says the blaze occurred sometime before 3-a.m., as his crew was dispatched at around 3:10-a.m.  Martin said Shelby Fire was already on the scene with pumper and tanker trucks when Avoca Fire arrived with their engine, tanker and support vehicle. He described what they saw: Heavy smoke and flames were emitting from the roof of the grain bin, and because and elevator link was hooked up, several bins around the main bin, were in danger of catching fire.

He said the situation was somewhat unusual, he said, with 20-foot high flames shooting from the roof of the bin, which held 8- to 12-thousand bushels of corn. He said it was a unique bin, in that  the dryer was on top. That allowed the fire to burn above about 75-percent of the corn being stored in the bin. The flames were coming from the top of the structure and over-shooting the roof when his crews arrived.

The structure was likely not salvageable, according to Martin. Avoca Fire was on the scene for about 6-hours. No injuries were reported. A cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

(Ric Hanson-KJAN/Joel McCall-KNOD)