UPDATE - Firefighters blame structural failure for grain bin collapse

A complete structural failure led to the collapse of the single metal grain bin Tuesday on Ohio Street. "The grain could have shifted. ... It's hard to say," Norwalk Fire Chief Doug Coletta said this morning.
Cary Ashby
Dec 1, 2010
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A complete structural failure led to the collapse of the single metal grain bin Tuesday on Ohio Street.

"The grain could have shifted. ... It's hard to say," Norwalk Fire Chief Doug Coletta said this morning.

Several people interviewed at the scene by the Reflector said they heard several explosions when the incident happened about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. Coletta said those noises weren't dust explosions as previously reported, but probably were the rings inside the bin bursting open.

"It absolutely probably sounded like an explosion," he said.

(NOTE - To view photos of the collapse, as well as the clean up, click on these ReflectorCam 2.0 galleries HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.)

Capt. Bill Knadler said the grain bin on west end of the property probably had a split in one of the seams near the top.

"It's a panel-type grain bin ... built in sections," Knadler said. "It was a failure of the container."

The grain bin that collapsed was 55 feet tall and was about 45 feet in diameter. It held about 120,000 bushels of corn, which weighed nearly 7 million pounds or 3,500 tons. One bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds.

Firefighters estimate the corn was worth slightly more than $600,000. Sunrise Cooperative's closing market price for corn Tuesday in Clarksfield was listed at $5.20 and in Monroeville, it was priced at $5.12.

The bin was built between 1945 and 1948, according to the Huron County auditor's office. Another bin, with dimensions of 50 feet by 71 feet, was built in 1995.

Look for the full story in Thursday's Reflector.