Mont. FFs rescue man trapped in sand-filled silo

The Missoula technical rescue team used a high point pulley system to access the victim, who was buried up to his neck in the sand

Zoe Buchli
Missoulian, Mont.

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Missoula Fire Department responded to a call Wednesday afternoon for a report of a person trapped in a silo and buried to his neck in sand at a concrete business on the city's Northside.

Firefighters arrived at 1700 Rodgers St. with two ladder trucks and three engines at 2:43 p.m., according to a news release. The male victim was about 25 feet below the only entrance to the silo, which was a small manhole near the top.

The technical rescue team was able to develop a plan using a high point pulley system to access the victim by lowering a rescuer with ropes to attach the victim to a harness, the release said. While suspended on ropes, the rescuer used large-diameter vacuum hoses extended from two public works vacuum trucks to remove sand from around the victim.


Happy ending to a very technical rescue today. We are excited to report the patient is recovering well. The incident...

Posted by City of Missoula Fire Department on Wednesday, April 7, 2021

"There was constant concern throughout the rescue, and measures taken to keep the existing sand from inside the silo from sloughing off and burying the victim completely," the news release said.

Fire Chief Jeff Brandt believes the worker was on top of the silo doing maintenance work at Hutton Pre-Cast Concrete Inc. when he accidentally fell into the sand, he said.

After about 2 1/2 hours, the rescue team was able to free the victim from the sand and hoist him via harness into a small interior entrance inside the silo 25 feet above where he was trapped.

The man was taken to St. Patrick Hospital and was later released with no injuries.


(c)2021 Missoulian, Mont.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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