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Mechanical Failure Leads to Grain Elevator Dust Explosion

September 28, 2016
Two people were severely injured after a dust explosion at an Indiana grain elevator on Monday.
Two people were severely injured after a dust explosion at an Indiana grain elevator on Monday.

Investigators said mechanical failure is the cause of a grain elevator dust explosion in Francesville, IN Monday that left a truck driver and a firefighter with serious burn injuries, several news organizations reported.

“What happened was there was a catastrophic failure of the downward leg of the north pit of the silo that created the heat that sparked an accidental dust explosion,” Francesville Police Capt. Robert Hickman told WNDU news on Tuesday. “It was accidental, completely unintentional. Another way to describe it is there was a mechanical failure, something broke on the downward leg and it created heat. In order to have a fire you have to have heat, fuel, and oxygen and all three of those things came together in that bin and that’s what the explosion was from.”

First responders responded to a call of a fire at the Tate & Lyle Elevator in Pulaski County, IN at about 2 p.m., according to a WSBT news report. During the blaze, 67-year-old volunteer firefighter Glenn Tiede and Timothy Reidelbach, 57, were injured with serious burns. The two victims were in critical condition at an area hospital, WSBT’s coverage said.

A number of organizations investigated the incident, determining that a mechanical failure caused the dust explosion. The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration is continuing to investigate the blast.