Iowa house swallowed in grain bin collapse

Family lucky to escape corn tsunami

An Iowa family had a near miss when a collapsing giant grain bin buried their house under "thousands of bushels of corn", destroying the structure and trapping father and son in the wreckage.

According to the Burlington Hawk Eye, the bin in Hillsboro, Henry County, failed structurally on Tuesday night at around 8pm while Jesse and Jennifer Kellet were at home with their two kids. The corn deluge took out the walls of the house and brought down the roof, trapping Jesse and his son Jordan, while his wife and their daughter managed to crawl free.

Local resident Naomi Sanderson recounted: "When it happened, my house shook, and I'm clear on the other end of this town. Most of the town was without power." AP adds that residents "could hear the bin's rivets giving way, sounding like machine-gun fire".

Emergency crews quickly deployed a tractor to attempt to lift the remains of the structure and "high-powered blowers" to clear the corn. Happily, after about four hours they were able to extract the two trapped males, with Jesse Kellet the only one of the pair to require unspecified hospital treatment.

The bin in question, owned by ChemGro and alleged to contain "500,000 bushels" of corn (weighing around 12,000 metric tonnes, by our reckoning), had apparently been a cause for concern for the Kellets due to its evidently risky close proximity to their property. Sanderson confirmed: "They went to a lawyer about it."

Fellow Hillsboro resident Cathy Geiger said the bin had been a source of friction between the town and Chemgro, adding it was "maybe 25 feet" from the Kelletts' door. Asked "whether she thought it was a miracle that all four Kelletts apparently were alive", Geiger summed it up nicely with: "Hell, yes." ®

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