Officials warn of grain silo dangers


VIGO Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — According to the Purdue Extension, work-related deaths on farms are not uncommon.

“It depends on how a farm is managed. And it does happen, unfortunately,” said Dana Gadeken with Purdue Extension.

On Friday, 18-year-old Colten Howard died after being trapped in a grain silo for hours.

But according to the Honey Creek Fire Department, suffocation happens in just seconds.

“In 22 seconds you can be completely engulfed. And once that occurs, then suffocation starts because the grain completely engulfs you to the point where you can’t breathe,” said Fire Chief Tom High.

Several agencies in Montgomery County responded to recover Howard. Honey Creek is ready to do the same.

“We have four plates that we can put together in a dam around the individual. And we drive them in with a slidehammer down around them and we have to pull the grain out of there so that we can rescue them,” Chief High said.

According to Chief High, a person can be engulfed before officials respond, so it’s important to take preventative measures.

“If you’ve got to enter look for safe ways, make sure you have an observer. Be extremely careful because it doesn’t take very long and this can become a death,” Chief High said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said there were 8 farming-related deaths in Indiana in 2017.

Three of them involved contact with objects and equipment.

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