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Monday November 18, 2019
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grain destroyed in elevator fire

Tuesday, November 05, 2019 11:16 AM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News


– An estimated eight tons of canola grain stored at Kingsbury Elevator was destroyed.

Kingsbury Fire Chief Mark Ritter said the cause of the fire remained under investigation.

''In my opinion, the canola was a total loss,'' Ritter said.

The burning canola was inside a 10 to 15 feet high storage capsule, said La Porte County Hazardous Materials Team director Jeff Hamilton.

The capsule was inside a century old wooden structure containing about a dozen other storage bins.

The outside of each bin is made of wood and lined on the inside with tin or steel, Hamilton said.

Some of the firefighters climbed the ladder on a truck and crawled through an opening at the top of the storage building to apply water to the burning grain from the top of the capsule.

Eventually, the capsule once temperatures reached safe enough levels was emptied from the bottom and the rest of the grain was doused in water.

''It was burning from top to bottom,'' Ritter said.

Hamilton said two other storage bins were also emptied so that grain wouldn't ignite from heat emitting from the adjacent capsule.

Firefighters from departments at other locations such as La Porte, Scipio Township and Noble Township responded and most were gone about seven hours after first responding about 1 p.m.

The canola was brought there from the Oklahoma area to be mixed with other ingredients at the elevator for sale as livestock feed.

Canola is a plant with seeds crushed to produce oil for cooking and meal.

It's widely used worldwide as a source of protein.

Hamilton said spontaneous combustion from heat naturally building up on the inside of the grain is among the potential causes.

Another possibility is the fire started in the canola while it was being stored and spread, he said.

Hamilton said there was no damage to the storage building.

The Canadian National Railroad with tracks leading to and from the elevator temporarily stopped its trains until firefighters were finished extinguishing the fire.

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