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First responders continue search for missing Yarmouth Elevator employee

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 11:26 PM CDT
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YARMOUTH, Iowa (KWQC) - Emergency responders in Des Moines County continued to search for a missing employee at the site of a collapsed grain bin Tuesday night.

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, Des Moines County Emergency Management Agency officials said they are continuing the search, after searching through Tuesday night. The rain forecasted in the area did not hinder their “search and response” operation.

“The overwhelming outpouring of community support has been very much appreciated and no further donations are needed at this time,” The Des Moines County Sheriff’s office said in a media release.

According to the Des Moines County Sheriff’s Office, they received the call at 8:08 a.m to Agri-way Grain Elevators in Yarmouth. Iowa Task Force One (IA-TF1), a search and rescue unit, was called and assisted in securing the scene around mid-afternoon.

Gina Hardin, a coordinator with Des Moines County EMA said K-9s also assisted in the search.

According to a media release, emergency responders were informed that two employees were in the immediate area at the time of the grain silo collapse and that one of the employees was unable to be located.

Emergency responders arrived on scene and immediately began rescue operations, according to deputies.  The collapsed silo remains partially standing, as of 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, and has caused structural damage to adjacent silos, creating an extremely volatile environment for the rescue and recovery of the missing individual.

“[IA-TF1] are working with us responders and helping us,” Hardin said. “They had done an assessment structural assessment of the area to make sure that it’s safe for emergency responders to go in ... Our problem was we had a building in the way, that we had to take down. We finally got that building down early this afternoon [Tuesday].”

With Tuesday’s extreme heat, crews went in five at a time and rotated every 10 minutes to stay cool. Hardin said about 15 different agencies in the area assisted in the response.

“We have so many departments here to give everybody a chance to go in and help out,” Hardin said. “[They come out to] what we call rehab where they get their vitals checked to make sure they’re doing okay. [They] get something to drink and eat. We’ve had an outpouring of drinks and water Gatorade to the area.”

While officials appreciated the support the community has shown by donating food and water, they said at this point they have more than enough for the crew. They asked people to avoid the area as much as possible.

The Yarmouth Elevator is owned by Agri-Way Partners LLC.

This is a developing story. TV6 will provide updates on-air and online.

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