RICHLAND CITY, Ind (WEHT) – It’s a call first responders never want to hear- a farmer trapped inside a grain bin. But thanks to some quick thinking and some help from a few friends, firefighters pulled a man from a Spencer County grain bin Thursday afternoon.
Luce Township Fire Department Assistant Chief Scott Middleton says it’s always a relief when they can rescue someone safely, especially when it’s an old friend. Middleton explains that the farmer, identified by family as Phillip Schmidt, was his old ag teacher, a man he’s known for most of his life.
Middleton explains that he believes Schmidt climbed into the grain bin shortly after 2:00 Thursday afternoon to clear a blockage before getting stuck in the grain. Middleton says that climbing into a grain bin is typically unrecommended but says Schmidt had two friends with him that quickly sprung into action, turning off the grain bin and getting a rope tied around him.
Despite being in the grain bin for hours before being rescued just before 5:00 Thursday evening, Middleton says Schmidt did well, kept his spirits up, and appeared to avoid serious injury.
Middleton says grain bins can be dangerous traps, explaining that the grain can provide a crushing impact anytime someone breathes.
Thursday’s incident is not the only grain bin rescue the Tri-State has seen this Spring. In May, first responders helped rescue two men trapped inside a grain bin in Union County. In both cases, rescuers used a Res-Q tube that helps relieve some of the grain pressure and makes it easier for trapped people to get out.
Union County Emergency Management Director Rick White told Eyewitness News in May that the tube has made it easier and safer to rescue people from grain bins. White explains that, in prior years, perhaps only half of the people trapped in a grain bin survived. Now, that percentage is much higher.
At the end of a stressful day, Middleton says he’s just happy everyone made it out safely.