A 1990 collapse at Tillotson’s York, Neb., elevator causes minor injury

Beatrice (Neb.) Daily Sun, Saturday, Feb. 24, 1990

YORK, Neb. (AP)–Another part of a grain elevator collapsed Friday, one day after two elevator silos split open spilling grain that crushed a building and injured one worker.

There were no reports of injuries or anyone being trapped after the collapse about 4:30 p.m. Friday at Farmers Co-op Elevator, said Clay Stodieck, a York firefighter.

“All I know is we had another collapse,” he said. “They were attempting to unload the grain today. I don’t know how far they got.”

Meanwhile, LeRoy Vanicek, elebator manager, confirmed the co-op began removing grain from the elevator earlier this month.

Radio station KAWL in York quoted an unidentified source close to the co-op as saying the grain was being removed prior to the collapse on Thursday.

The source told the station concrete chips and dust had recently appeared in grain stored at the facility and co-op officials were concerned there could be a problem with the structure. Vanicek would not confirm whether co-op officials were concerned about any problems.

A secretary who was pinned beneath a desk when thousands of pounds of grain spilled out of the elevator silos Thursday escaped the accident with bumps, bruises and scrapes, officials said.

Ruth Jones, 36, said she heard a loud roar when the 61,000 bushels of grain flattened the one-story building.

The lower halves of the 130-foot concrete silos filled with milo broke open about 3:50 p.m. CST, York Fire Chief Mark Grosshans said.

The silos are two of 18 units at the Farmers Co-op Elevator in northwest York. The silos are divided into three rows of six. The elebator is just west of U.S. Highway 81.

State Fire Marshal Wally Barnett said the bins “split from about halfway up to the base.”

Branch manager George Makovicka said he was on top of the elevator doing some routine maintenance when the grain began spilling out.

“I heard a whooshing sound, like sucking air,” he said. “I looked over the edge and saw all the grain on top of the building. It looked like a tidal wave.”

Engineers from Omaha and Lincoln inspected the building Friday morning and determined that the integrity of the structure is in question, Grosshans said Friday.

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