GOTHENBURG - U.S. Hwy 30 going through Gothenburg is still shut down as Nebraska State Fire Marshals continue to investigate the explosion that rocked the All Points Cooperative grain elevator there.
The blast took place around 3:15 a.m. Thursday according to the cooperative’s president, Ed Foster. An employee was caught in the blast and taken to a local hospital then transferred to St. Elizabeth Hospital Regional Medical Center to treat burns suffered in the accident and for observation.
“He seems to be OK but had some blistering on his face,” Foster said. “We are fortunate this happened when it did.”
The employee was working the dryer in the wet grain facility and was able to escape through a south door of the elevator. Because of the time of the incident there was only one injury reported.
The blast blew the head house off of the top of the 37-year-old elevator and left it dangling off the side of the structure.
April Headly, who lives a block away from where the explosion took place said she heard three big bangs that sounded much louder than thunder.
“I looked out my bedroom window, and I could see the mangle steel through the glow of the fire,” she said. “The explosion woke up all my kids and it was pretty scary for a while.”
The fire continued to smolder during the afternoon hours and into the early evening, and Foster said there were concerns of a secondary explosion.
“There are always concerns of more explosions, but I feel like this has been contained,” he said.
No one was being allowed to enter until fire marshals deemed it safe.
Fire marshals said there was no way to know what caused the explosion, because there are so many “variables” that can cause them in these types of situations.
Fire marshals also said Hwy 30 would continue to remain closed until cranes could come in and remove the head house at the top and crews could clean up the debris around the elevator.