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Explosion at southwest Minnesota grain elevator leaves 1 injured

A Heron Lake Fire Department rig is parked next to piles of burnt corn Tuesday afternoon at the New Vision Cooperative Elevator in Brewster. Tim Middagh / Forum News Service

BREWSTER, Minn. — Multiple ambulances are responding to an explosion at the New Vision Cooperative Elevator in Brewster. The explosion was reported at approximately 5:40 p.m.

According to reports over the police scanner, at least one person is injured.

A fire in one of the grain silos was reported at 9:54 a.m. Monday, June 10. Firefighters from Brewster and several other area towns had been on scene around the clock since then, spraying water into the concrete structure and working to remove smoldering corn.

Brewster Fire Chief John Garmer said Tuesday afternoon that there was a lot of smoke but no visible flames when they initially responded to the call.

The only way to put out the fire is to unload the estimated 15,000 bushels of corn, he said.

“That’s the painstaking process,” Garmer shared less than three hours before Tuesday evening’s explosion. Working from an open doorway and a hole in the floor, Garmer said crews were sucking the grain out while firefighters sprayed water in to cool it.

As the corn burned, it fused together and created a shelf that was preventing water from penetrating it and keeping the grain from pouring out, Garmer said.

“That’s where our problem is,” he shared.

It isn’t known how the fire started, Garmer said. The bin contained just 20% of its 75,000-bushel capacity.

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