MAUMEE, OHIO, U.S. — Two employees at The Andersons grain storage facility in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. died July 19 after becoming entrapped in a grain bin. According to The Blade, Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett, Lucas County coroner, determined the deaths of Joshua Stone, 29 and James Heilman, 56, were an accident and both died by suffocation. Barnett believes while breaking up compacted grain the two men hit an air pocket causing the grain to collapse.
Following the incident, The Andersons released this written statement: “At approximately 9 a.m. this morning, The Andersons was alerted that two employees were trapped inside a grain storage tank at our facility on Edwin Drive in Toledo. Toledo Fire and Rescue was contacted immediately and rescue operations were initiated. We are deeply saddened to share that the two employees did not survive. Out of respect for our employees and families, the company will not be providing the names of the two employees at this time.”
Local reports noted the grain bin was not full but Toledo Fire and Rescue estimated it to be holding 180,000 bushels of grain and the temperature inside the bin at about 120 degrees F.
“The Andersons is profoundly shaken by this tragedy and the loss of two of our own,” said Corey Jorgenson, president of Assets and Originations for The Andersons Trade Group. “We are working closely with authorities to investigate the incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our two teammates.”
According to Sosland Publishing’s 2019 Grain & Milling Annual, The Andersons grain facility on Edwin Drive has a storage capacity of 6,732,000 bushels.