Northeast Nebraska crews rescue man from grain bin

WAUSA -- What could have been the scene of a tragic death turned into a heroic rescue story in Wausa last Thursday. 

“A call came in that we had a man trapped in a grain bin,” explained Wausa Fire Chief Brian Wakeley. Wakeley rushed two trucks out right away around 4 p.m. with eight guys. On their way out, they called CVA Grain Rescue and five other local rescue teams, including Randolph Fire Department.

Two of his coworkers had gotten to the man and were pushing grain around from his face so he could breathe as Wakeley's team arrived on the scene. Rescue teams then secured the man with a rope and removed more grain with equipment in a manner not unlike a cofferdam, according to Wakeley. Five hours later, around 9 p.m., firefighters were able to pull the man out of the grain bin. 

Wakeley said in his 20 years at the fire department, he’s learned to stay calm through these high-risk scenes. “Most firefighters don’t go into it with emotion; it’s just get the job done,” Wakeley said. Relieved, Wakeley just hopes people remember to be safe in grain bins in the future.

“If you’re going in a confined space protect yourself and have somebody with you,” he said.

Grain storage on the farm is a dangerous task. Someone physically has to climb into bins to check on the product and how well its being preserved. Some of the most serious accidents — at times fatal — occur when someone suffocates in a bin.