Smoldering corn could be huge loss
“It’s not going to be cheap,” a Cooperative Grain and Supply worker said after smoldering corn sent Hillsboro firefighters Monday afternoon to the co-op’s Hillsboro hoop building.
Workers were moving corn when they started to notice smoke in a pit. Corn in a “leg” used to lift grain up and into a bin was burning, Fire Chief Ben Steketee said.
“It was one leg on the north side,” Steketee said. “We’ve got the fire out.”
An ambulance was on standby to check firefighters’ temperatures and blood pressure.
Elevator operator Joe Bartel said the elevator had been taking grain Saturday “and everything was working fine.”
But just after noon Monday, Bartel went to switch on equipment, and it wouldn’t work properly.
“It tripped the breaker on the receiving pit,” he said. “The conveyer belt was probably burned.”
Firefighters shot water down into bushels of corn below.
Jerry Fenske, CEO of Cooperative Grain and Supply, would not answer questions about damage estimates or a cause for the fire, saying the company needed to work with an insurance company.