UPDATE: Grain bin explosion prevented thanks to past experience

Posted By: Veronica Ortega


Lincoln Fire and Rescue were called to a facility near 33rd and Cornhusker around 11 a.m. Monday. They say a small fire was burning inside one of the grain bin silos. 

Fire officials say they attacked from above and created an opening at the bottom to remove about 100,000 bushels of grain.

"You’re looking at a pretty small port to move all that grain out of. Unfortunately the grain had burned together much like sticky sugar that gets stuck together in your sugar shaker. So they had to use a tool to unclog it and it was just a long drawn out process," says Battalion Chief Jim Bopp.

Bopp says in the 70s there was a grain elevator explosion at the same location that caused millions of dollars in damages. It’s a risk firefighters were trying to prevent from happening again.

Bopp says back in 1998 Lincoln firefighters were called to help after a massive explosion at a silo complex in Haysville, KS that killed seven people. He says that experience helped LFR come up with a strategy to tackle Monday’s fire.

"I actually pulled from that experience for what could go wrong in an effort to keep that from happening this time. As far as Lincoln Fire goes, it’s an example of how our experience with FEMA benefited the local community," says Battalion Chief Jim Bopp.

Authorities say the facility was safely evacuated and no one was injured. Investigators say the fire was likely caused by a spontaneous combustion. They say they still don’t know how much damage was caused.