Worker dies in WA silo collapse at facility previously fined for ‘serious’ safety violations
Story by KSWT Staff Reporter
(AP Photo/The Olympian, Steve Bloom). Emergency responders from the South Pierce Fire Department respond to a grain processing feed mill owned by Wilcox Farms in downtown Roy, Wash., Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, after one of its silos collapsed.
ROY, Wash. (AP) - A worker was missing and presumed dead after a silo collapsed and spilled 50 tons of corn at a facility that was cited this year for six "serious" safety violations, officials said Tuesday.
Rescuers will be unable to recover the body until they stabilize two other silos that were damaged in Monday's accident at the Wilcox Family Farms facility in Roy, South Pierce Fire & Rescue Chief Bob Vellias said.
"Our fear is that when we eradicate the corn and grain away from the silo, it will compromise the damaged silos and create another issue," Vellias said. "It's going to collapse on the area we're trying to work on."
The worker was one of two doing maintenance on the silo when it gave way for an unknown reason, Vellias said. The other worker and two people in a nearby office escaped.
In its most recent safety inspection, the Wilcox Family Farms facility was cited for six "serious" safety violations, according to records provided by the Department of Labor and Industries. The company was assessed a $10,000 penalty after that June review.
Wilcox Family Farms supplies eggs throughout the Northwest. The company did not immediately return calls seeking comment from The Associated Press.
Inspectors cited the company for not having adequate rescue and emergency services available around a "containment pit" and a corn tank. The state wrote in documents that employees who entered confined spaces were at risk of serious injury or death if adequate emergency services were not available to safely remove them from the space.
Another serious violation said the company failed to fully inform employees of the hazardous conditions and required duties when working in the containment pit and corn tank.
Elaine Fischer, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor and Industries, said it wasn't clear whether parts of the facility cited in the inspection were at issue in the collapse. She said inspectors have been gathering information about the collapse.
Stabilization work at the mill in Roy, about 50 miles south of Seattle, could take until Wednesday. When the scene is safe, rescuers plan to bring in a large vacuum truck used to clean storm drains to remove the grain, Vellias said.
Rescuers have trained with the equipment to move dirt, the fire chief said.
"We'll create a snorkel into the area and vac the corn away, like sand," Vellias said.
The missing man was in his 50s and worked for Wilcox Family Farms. His name was not released, and investigators won't know exactly how he died until his body is recovered.
The Wilcox family is well-known in the community, Vellias said.
"I can't say enough about the family," he said. "They've been a great supporter of us."
The silo was about 75 feet tall and 25 feet across. It was in the middle of a dozen silos of varying sizes. The two damaged silos are 40 to 50 feet tall and about 16 feet across said. One silo leaning against the office holds flax, he said
The mill mixes corn, wheat and other grains into chicken feed.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Email Alert Sign Up
Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.
The most haunted island on earth is a small island right off the coast of Venice, Italy called ‘The Island Of Poveglia. It's beautiful and deserted but it was also a body dumping ground a few hundred yearsMore >>
Spacious Island for sale; includes hotel. May need exorcism. More >>
Web Producer: Lucy Valencia, Assignment Desk Editor WASHINGTON (AP) -- Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits willMore >>
Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed if congressional Republicans fail to increase the government's borrowing authority in a looming showdown over the nation's debt and spending.More >>
Jesus Hernandez-Carlon stood before a judge to be formally charged; Carlon was arrested Monday night after a witness identified him as the man who robbed him at gun point outside a Yuma restaurant. AccordingMore >>
Man suspected of robbing someone at gun-point outside a Yuma restaurant was in court. More >>
Daisy Cortes was in court earlier this week through her attorney asked for her bond to be reduced. According to published reports her attorney reported to the court that Ms. Cortes was unaware of her fathersMore >>
Daughter of suspected gunman has day in courtMore >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - Yuma police say a dead woman was found in a car parked at Food City on 8th Street on Tuesday night, at around 6:20 p.m. Police are investigating her cause of death andMore >>
Yuma police are investigating the death of a woman who was found in a parked car Tuesday night.More >>