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WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 10, 2011, 08:55 PM

Rescuers face dangerous conditions in recovery

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Firefighters from Kindred, Davenport and a specially trained crew from Fargo Fire all worked to not only recover Sam's body, but keep all other rescuers safe. It was not an easy job.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

LeRoy Skarloken – Fargo Fire Department: “The safety of the rescuers and treating the victim with dignity

The biggest problem facing firefighters and rescue squads in a situation like this. Time and gravity. Corn piles can be silent killers.

Skarloken – “It flows like water and so you end up with the same problems you do with water it will engulf and squeeze you.”

Today we talked to Kindred and Fargo Firefighters who together used bracing and cribbing to keep the corn from piling on to the rescuers. At one point, they all had to stop. Too dangerous.

Ken Blilie – Kindred Fire Chief: “You need someone watching the whole scene and watching the pile in case there is a landslide of the corn.”

Ben Willey – Fargo Fire Department: “Probably the most nerve racking part for me was watching my brother firefighters dealing with a 30 foot wall of corn that could engulf them at any point.”

On site today, OSHA inspectors along with safety officers with Cenex and counselors made available for coworkers of Sam's who too are mourning his loss.

And some of the rural squads are hoping a glitch in a new computer system at regional dispatch is resolved. It delayed the initial page and call out of firefighters in Kindred last night.

When you are dealing with quick responses important every minute counts.

Regional dispatch officials told us today, they are reviewing the entire 9-1-1 calls and response from last night. Last year alone, 51 grain storage workers died nationwide after being covered by grain or corn piles, the highest number on record.

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