Sioux City, IA Grain Elevator Explosion, Apr 1974
FOUR KILLED IN SIOUX CITY ELEVATOR EXPLOSION.
Sioux City (UPI) -- Four men were crushed under tons of concrete and grain here Tuesday when sparks from machinery apparently touched off a dust explosion in the silo at a local grain elevator.
Authorities identified the four killed as GEORGE GRUNEICH and MARTIN McCORMICK, both of Sioux City who were employes at the Bartlett Grain ELevator, and EDWARD JOHNSTON, 58, of Sioux City and NORBERT BERTRAND, 50, of Jefferson, S.D. Officials said JOHNSTON and BERTRAND were employes of the Sioux City grain exchange.
Injured in the blast and hospitalized in fair condition with burns and possible fractures was DEAN FRAY, 39, of Bronson. FRY, a grain worker, was the first man removed from the explosion site.
Authorities said their initial investigation revealted that the explosion which occurred near the top of the silo, was apparently ignited by a spark from machinery. Officers said 11 persons were working at the mill at the time, and that FRY and the four killed were working in the vicinity of the silo where railroad cars were being loaded with corn.
Several rail cars, authorities said, were extensively damaged by the debris. They said the elevator was still standing, but that debris covered a 150 yard radius around the silo.
Flying cement also caused extensive damage to the American Popcorn Co. building located about 100 yards to the west of the silo. A wall was pushed in at the popcorn plant by the impact from the explosion, but no injuries were reported.
The elevator is located in the northwest part of the city along U.S. 75. Authorities said several police and fire units were dispatched to the scene, but that rescue efforts were hampered temporarily while officials feared a second explosion.
A witness said the top of the elevator's silo "blew off" and spilled concrete and grain on the five men working below. Three of the bodies were found in the debris and the fourth was discovered in a tunnel under the elevator.
Ames Daily Tribune Iowa 1974-05-01