Update: Explosion Damages Gothenburg Grain Elevator

By: Sara Geake Email
By: Sara Geake Email

An explosion has damaged a grain elevator in Gothenburg, scattering debris onto a nearby railroad track and closing parts of Highway 30 for a short time.

This isn't the first time an explosion has shut down the All Points Cooperative, so when neighbors describe the incident they immediately compare it to the 2008 explosion.

"There was a flash and the flame came out, and then there was a big boom and a lot of smoke," said neighbor Terri Hergenrader. "I thought, oh my God it happened again, but it was not as bad as it was the last time."

"It's very frustrating," said Ed Foster, All Points general manager. "Investigators have never been able to determine what happened before and of course, we put in absolutely every type of safety precaution we could in the new facility. To have this happen again, it's just unbelievable."

Foster says those safety features may have saved a life.

"We were in full operation. We were loading a grain train. We had patrons unloading grain at the elevator. Our full crew was in the elevator. Everything was operational," he said. "We had no injuries of any kind - patrons or employees - so we're very, very fortunate."

Dawson County Emergency Management Director Brian Woldt says the explosion blew the tops off two silos. Debris was found on nearby railroad tracks and on U.S. Highway 30, which runs in front of the elevator.

He says equipment will lift crews up to inspect the silos. Woldt says aerial inspections also will be conducted.

Employees say the explosion came without warning.

"As far as any of our computer equipment gave no warning that there was any issues whatsoever," said Foster.

Which makes this explosion - at least for now - all the more puzzling.

No residents in the town of about 4,000 people have been evacuated, but a nearby gas station has been closed.

Foster says a meeting will be held to determine how the elevator will continue to take and ship grain.

The area of Highway 30 in Gothenburg that had been closed for a time after the grain elevator explosion reopened about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.


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