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Fire at DeBruce Grain elevator injures one

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at 8:09 a.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at 4:10 p.m.

One man was treated for smoke inhalation at a local hospital Monday night after fire broke out atop the DeBruce Grain elevator on South Hoover, authorities said.

The fire was reported at 5:32 p.m. at the grain elevator company at 5755 S. Hoover, a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said.

Sedgwick County Deputy Fire Marshal Clint Reed said fire crews saw white smoke coming from the top of the grain elevator upon their arrival. DeBruce employees turned off power to a grain-moving belt and shut hatches to grain silos.

“The belt itself was on fire,” Reed said.

Crews had to use an aerial boom and hoist fire hose 120 feet into the air to reach the fire.

“It took a long time to get water up there,” Reed said.

Crews poured a small amount of water on the fire at any given time to minimize the amount of grain dust being stirred up, he said.

“The fire was never extremely big,” Reed said. “But the potential is always there.”

He said fire crews were “very cautious” and did everything they could “not to have another recurrence of 1998,” when an explosion at DeBruce killed seven people and injured 10 others.

Crews needed more than two hours to put out the fire and continued monitoring for flare-ups through the night.

The fire was accidental, Reed said, and no damage estimate was calculated.

The fire victim, a man in his 30s, was taken to the burn unit of Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis. He was released following treatment.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com.

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