Sumner farmer recalls being trapped in grain bin for hours, thanks firefighters

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Sumner, Iowa – The Sumner Volunteer Fire Department posted to Facebook, saying a man was trapped in a grain bin last night.

When the fire department arrived, they say they found the man trapped in corn, and he was waist deep inside the grain bin.

According to the Facebook post, fire crews used cofferdams to protect the man. They also used a rescue auger, which allowed firefighters to remove grain from around the victim. The man was eventually freed from the grain bin, and he is okay.


Sumner Farmer Ron Tegtmeier says he was unloading corn from his grain bin into a truck. He noticed a chunk of frozen corn.

He says, “I had a long rod, and I was going to go down and break it loose.” That’s when he slipped in the grain bin, but luckily truck driver Jacob Stamp was nearby and saw his friend lose his balance.

He says, “Went in with a shovel to dig him out.” Stamp called 9-1-1, stopped the equipment and kept an eye out for his friend. 

Ron says the corn was about waist-deep, when the Sumner Volunteer Fire Department responded. When Ron slipped in, the grain bin was about 2/3 full of corn.

The volunteer fire department used a rescue tube and an auger to get Ron to safety.

Firefighter Dan Northrop says, “We used our rescue tube, which just assembles around the victim, so the grain doesn’t collapse on them any more. We then drop the auger down in there and it runs off of a drill. It kind of augers the grain out from under the victim.” 

He adds, “We have a helmet that goes on the victim and the harness will go around him as well,  and it attaches to a rope.”

Kip Ladage with the Bremer County Emergency Management says, “A couple of hours later, we got to walk him (Ron) to the house, he’s doing fine, and that doesn’t happen very often. It’s a reflection of a lot of good luck and a lot of good training, and that doesn’t always happen.”

Ron says he is thankful to the fire department, the emergency responders, and to his friend who saw him fall in the grain bin and called 911.

The Sumner Volunteer Fire Department says all the equipment they used was donated to them.

Something Ironic, this all happened during grain bin safety week.

Amanda Gilbert

Amanda Gilbert

Multimedia Journalist
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