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The Savage Grain Elevator Explosion: 40 Years Later

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 12-Nov-2018

On October 3, 1978, an explosion ripped through a grain elevator at Port Bunge in Savage, Minnesota. The blast took the lives of 3 men, and the incident killed an additional person who was crushed while clearing rubble from the explosion. The entire community of Savage was left shaken and traumatized. However, time moved forward. The grain elevator was rebuilt, and a structure still stands where the blast occurred 40 years ago.

The explosion was a startling reminder for Savage residents of the hazards of grain elevators. It also encouraged employers to reinforce safety procedures to protect workers, who processed the city’s main agricultural product.

Remembering the Savage Grain Elevator Disaster

On October 23, 2018, retired firefighters met to discuss the explosion and remember those who were lost in the grain elevator. At this meeting, the group presented the significant improvements to safety made since the 1978 eruption: firefighter uniforms are no longer made with combustible rubber and elevators are built with fire hydrants nearby, among other improvements.

Grain elevator construction has also improved. Elevators are no longer built with combustible material and come built with ventilation systems to prevent flammable dust buildup. However, Tim Koch, the present-day manager of the Savage grain elevator, wants everyone to remember one thing: the risk of grain elevator explosions can only be minimized, not eliminated. It takes constant vigilance to prevent explosions from taking more lives.

Why Grain Elevators Explode

Many people don't realize explosions are a common hazard of the grain processing industry. Grain elevators contain small dust particles that float in the air. These particles are known as "combustible dust." When they are in a dense enough concentration in the atmosphere, they become a dormant source of fuel. When combustible dust meets an ignition source in a confined area, the result is an incredibly forceful blast.

Many grain elevator explosions have a secondary blast that occurs after the first. These happen when the first blast knocks even more dust particles loose from the walls of the elevator. Secondary explosions are often deadly because they occur when survivors and responders are dealing with the aftermath of the primary blast.

Arnold & Itkin helped the victim of a grain elevator blast in 2014 win $39.7 million for his injuries. If you've been hurt in a grain elevator explosion, call {F:P:Site:Phone} to learn your options for free with our industrial explosion attorney.

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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