Worker Presumed Dead In Washington Silo Collapse - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Worker Presumed Dead In Washington Silo Collapse

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Crews from the South Pierce Fire Department respond to a grain processing feed mill in Roy, Washington, on Monday, December 2, 2013, after one of its silos collapsed. (AP Photo) Crews from the South Pierce Fire Department respond to a grain processing feed mill in Roy, Washington, on Monday, December 2, 2013, after one of its silos collapsed. (AP Photo)

ROY, Wash. (AP) - A worker was missing and presumed dead after a silo collapsed and spilled 50 tons of corn while he and another man were doing routine maintenance on it at a feed mill in Washington state, authorities said Tuesday.

Rescuers will be unable to recover the body until they stabilized two other silos that were damaged in the Monday afternoon accident, South Pierce Fire & Rescue Chief Bob Vellias said.

"Our fear is that when we eradicate the corn and grain away from the silo, it will compromise the damaged silos and create another issue," Vellias said. "It's going to collapse on the area we're trying to work on."

The worker was one of two doing maintenance on the silo when it gave way for an unknown reason, Vellias said. The other worker and two people in a nearby office escaped.

Stabilization work at the mill in Roy, about 50 miles south of Seattle, could take until Wednesday. The feed mill serves Wilcox Family Farms, which supplies eggs throughout the Northwest.

When the scene is safe, rescuers plan to bring in a large vacuum truck used to clean storm drains to remove the grain, Vellias said.

Rescuers have trained with the equipment to move dirt, the fire chief said.

"We'll create a snorkel into the area and vac the corn away, like sand," Vellias said.

The missing man was in his 50s and worked for Wilcox Family Farms. His name was not released. Investigators won't know exactly how he died until the body is recovered.

The silo was about 75 feet tall and 25 feet across. It was in the middle of a dozen silos of varying sizes. The two damaged silos are 40 to 50 feet tall and about 16 feet across said. One silo leaning against the office holds flax, he said

The mill mixes corn, wheat and other grains into chicken feed.

The family-owned business has not returned a call seeking comment on the accident, which is being investigated by the state Department of Labor and Industries.

The Wilcox family is well-known in the community, Vellias said.

"I can't say enough about the family. They've been a great supporter of us."

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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