UPDATE: Hinton Chief Says Grain Dust May Have Sparked Explosion

Plymouth Co SheriffHinton, Iowa — Two people were hurt in an explosion and fire Thursday afternoon at the Central Valley Ag grain elevator in Hinton.  Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck says the explosion was likely the result of grain dust being ignited and the blast was very powerful.

The two injured workers were transported first to a Sioux City hospital, then airlifted to the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo says a day care facility near the grain elevator was evacuated as were two residents from nearby homes. Officials are concerned about the safety and soundness of the structure of the gain storage silo, after noticing it had shifted while firefighters were on top of the structure. Fire officials are concerned the structure may collapse.

Hinton, Iowa — Two individuals were taken to Sioux City hospitals following an explosion early Thursday afternoon in Hinton.

Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo says the Plymouth County Communications Center received several 911 calls shortly after 1 pm Thursday of an explosion at the Central Valley Ag elevator in Hinton.  Hinton Fire and Ambulance crews were dispatched to the scene, along with law enforcement.

Van Otterloo says once emergency personnel arrived on the scene they learned that there were injuries, and that additional medical and fire units were needed.  The Sheriff says that, along with Hinton, the Merrill and Le Mars Fire Departments were called.  Van Otterloo says Siouxland Paramedics and Le Mars Ambulance were called to the scene, as well.  Van Otterloo says the conditions of the two people transported to Sioux City are not known, nor were their identities released.

The Sheriff says Highway 75 and County Road C-60 were shut down for just over an hour until the immediate scene was made safe by the fire departments.  He says it was initially feared there may have been potential for a second explosion.  Van Otterloo says the railroad was also contacted, and all train traffic through the area was suspended.  He says some of the area’s homes were evacuated until the scene was made safe.

Van Otterloo says the Hinton Fire Department is leading the investigation with the assistance of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and Hinton Police Department.  He says the cause of the explosion is not known at this time.

The Iowa State Patrol, Iowa DOT, and Merrill Police all assisted at the scene.

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