Fire crews rescue man trapped in grain bin near Smithton

News-DemocratNovember 8, 2013 

Emergency crews rescued a man trapped in a grain bin Friday morning near Smithton.

Smithton Fire Protection District Chief Mike Schutzenhofer said the man, whose name was not released, is in his 30s. He did not appear to have any serious injuries, but he was airlifted to St. Louis University Hospital as a precaution.

"He was very fortunate," Schutzenhofer said. "He was conscious, breathing, alert and answering EMS questions -- that was a good sign."

The incident happened about 11 a.m. at 3813 Klein School Road near Smithton. Schutzenhofer said the man was cleaning the walls of the grain bin filled with feed for hogs when he became trapped.

"While they were cleaning, it broke loose and he got trapped inside," Schutzenhofer said.

At first the feed was over his head, Schutzenhofer said, but other farm workers at Schilling's Farm were able to clear the area around his head.

"When we arrived, he was waist deep in it," Schutzenhofer said.

Multiple agencies responded to the scene including Freeburg Fire Department and the St. Clair County Special Emergency Services. St. Louis Fire Department also was headed to the scene, but was canceled once the man was freed.

Schutzenhofer said the man was rescued in about an hour. Firefighters with the Smithton Fire Protection District and other departments undergo special training for confined space rescue.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 618-239-2562 or

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