Two grain dryer fires in 24 hours - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Two grain dryer fires in 24 hours

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(KWWL) -

There have been two grain bin fires in the past 24 hours.
The most recent one was at Figanbaum Trucking and Grain in Tripoli.
The fire started from the grain dryer this morning.
 Multiple fire departments were called to help fight the fire.
 After two hours, they were able to put out the fire.

The other fire happened Thursday evening at Five Star Coop in New Hampton.
Several fire departments were called in.
Smoke from the fire was carried over the town by the high winds.
There's still no word on if anyone was injured.


KWWL's Jessica Hartman spoke with a local coop to find out what safety measure are in place to help prevent these fires from happening.

Grain dryers are used to pull moisture out of crops like corn and soybeans in order to store the grain through the winter.
With temps climbing to anywhere from a 140 to a nearly 200 degrees inside the dryer, fires like the one in New Hampton can happen in minutes.
"Just before 2 p.m. is when it seemed to start and by 2:10 p.m. is when we actually saw some flames," said Andy Hintgen, a witness to the New Hampton fire.

Will Manweiler manages the drying process at the Dunkerton Coop.
"If there is a fire, its going to be in your grain columns on the outside," said Manweiler.

 But he says there are safety measures in place to help combat the potential for fires.
 "We were trying to run Sunday and it was actually, the dry was kicking out on us because the air temperature was so warm," said Manweiler.

The newest safety precaution at the Dunkerton Coop, windows in the dryer that actually show whether the grain is moving correctly through the system.

"The column could be come blocked and so that grain doesn't flow through. And if that happens, that grain in there is going to stay hot and its going to combust," said Manweiler.
  
 Manweiler said most of the corn is coming out of the fields with a low moisture content.
 They are drying less than 50% of what they did last year.

 That means less time operating the dryers and lower risk for fires.
 The exact cause of the fires in New Hampton and Tripoli are not clear at this time.

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