Elevator fire forces evacuations
Child care centers, residences, Marion Senior Center, and Marion County Courthouse were evacuated for 2½ hours Thursday in response to a fire at the Cooperative Grain and Supply grain elevator in Marion.
Smoke was billowing from a drive-through bay at the elevator as Marion firefighters arrived about 10:30 a.m. Units from Hillsboro and Florence arrived a short time later, and Marion police blocked traffic on both ends of S. 3rd. St.
Evacuations of people within a two-block radius of the elevator began shortly after 11 a.m.., with parents being allowed through blockades to pick up children in day care. Central National Bank at 3rd and Main Sts. also voluntarily evacuated.
The area remained blocked to traffic until 1:35 p.m., although firefighters remained on the scene until 2:20 p.m. while continuing to detect smoke coming from the elevator.
At least one injury was reported. Marion ambulance transported elevator worker John Ottensmeier to St. Luke Hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation and a head laceration suffered when he struck his head on a pipe while fleeing the fire, which reportedly started when welding accidentally ignited a rubber belt that lifts grain into storage bins.
Florence firefighter Evan Slater also was admitted to St. Luke for treatment of smoke inhalation.