Explosion at Warsaw grain elevator

Updated September 9th at 4:45PM

Now that all the dust and commotion have settled, the state fire marshall arrived late this afternoon to investigate yesterday's explosion at the Ursa Farmer's Cooperative Grain Elevator in Warsaw.

That fire sent two people to the hospital.

KHQA's Jarod Wells stopped by the elevator for an update.

Everything happened at about 4:15PM Wednesday, September 8th in the leg of a dump pit at the Warsaw grain elevator.

General Manager Gerald Jenkins told KHQA they have an idea about what caused the explosion, but were waiting to confirm that with the fire marshall and insurance company.

The elevator is completely shut down for now, but workers are hoping to be up and running again in 24 hours.

Jenkins told KHQA the damage was minimal because of some preventative measures taken over the past few years.

He told KHQA these incidents aren't common, but they also aren't unusual.

As far as injuries one truck driver, Gene Gaines, is still in ICU in Iowa City with 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns and a broken leg.

Another person had some minor injuries and has been treated and released from the hospital.

Warsaw Fire Chief Steve Siegrist told the Keokuk Daily Gate City that conditions such as high heat can make grain dust highly combustible.

Jarod asked if that could have been the cause of this incident.

He was told conditions have to be absolutely perfect for grain dust to combust and some sort of spark is needed.

We will continue to follow this story and will bring you more details on the findings of the fire marshall as they become available

Updated September 9 at 11:07 a.m.

One man is in Iowa City hospital with first and second degree burns, a second man has been treated for minor burns and released.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal's office will visit the Warsaw elevator Thursday afternoon.

The elevator could be back up and running within 24 hours.

Managers at the elevator do not want to comment on a possible cause of the explosion and fire until the Fire Marshal's inspection of the site.


Two people were hurt from an afternoon explosion at the Ursa Farmer's Cooperative Grain Elevator operation in Warsaw.

The blast happened around 4 p.m. in a grain bin dryer.

A truck driver was air lifted to Blessing Hospital with burns.

An employee was taken to Keokuk Area Hospital with minor injuries.

Witnesses didn't want to go on camera, but they told us the blast sounded like a sonic boom.

Many say it shook roofs and raddled the windows.

C rews evacuated the immediate area.

Around seven tonight fire crews climbed to the top of the grain bins and inspected each bin.

No other damage was reported.