Written by Kera Mashek, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
TRIPOLI (KWWL) -
A Fredericksburg man is recovering after being rescued from inside a grain bin in Tripoli Tuesday morning. Crews were called to Figanbaum Grain and Trucking Company around 11.
KWWL was there as rescuers safely removed the trapped worker.
Corn poured into a wagon, as emergency crews worked to free an employee trapped inside this bin at Figanbaum Grain and Trucking Company Tuesday. Tripoli Fire called for extra help, including special rescue equipment
"Sumner brought over some panels, we call it GSI brace panels, to send over the top and put them around the person in the bin and scoop the corn out from the bin and just make sure it's safe for everybody," said Dan Burgart, Tripoli Fire Chief.
Long-time Figanbaum employee Curt Gitch was inside the bin cleaning it out. The hole on top of the bin was covered, but Gitch accidentally poked through it, breaking him loose and allowing the auger to suck him down into the corn below. Luckily, the 100,000 bushel bin was only about a third full, just covering Gitch up to his chest.
"He had his cell phone on him thankfully and called the office. My niece was in there. She come running out to stop everything because it already had him sucked down quite a ways. So we got that stopped. I boogied up there and called the rescue," said Bill Figanbaum, Figanbaum Grain owner.
Within an hour, Gitch was freed. After 35 years in the business, Figanbaum says this is the first time a worker's ever been trapped inside a bin.
"I don't know what you do so it don't happen. If a bin don't run, what do you do? You've got to get in there and get it to run. But from now on, it'll be me in there to do it -- not that I'm any better than them guys, but at least if it's going to be somebody, it'll be me," Figanbaum said.
Figanbaum's just grateful Tuesday's rescue was a success, thanks to the fast actions of first responders.
It really is a miracle Curt Gitch was not seriously hurt or killed while inside the grain bin. After all, it's estimated last year alone, a record 26 people died after becoming trapped inside grain bins.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Sandy Youngblut at 319-291-1259. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.