By Carrie Pitzer
Team effort is being credited in a grain bin rescue on Friday afternoon north of Neligh along Highway 14.
Neligh Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mike Mortensen said first responders from multiple agencies were on hand with the rescue from a grain bin. The bins were located on the west side of Highway 14 near the intersection with the Pierce-Neligh Road.
"It was a team effort," Mortensen said after the victim was transported from the scene via Life Net helicopter.
The individual, who has not been identified, was in the center of the grain bin. Mortensen said the Central Valley Ag Emergency Response Team, which is a rope rescue and grain bin emergency team, and the Plainview Fire Department played key roles in the extraction of the individual.
"I'm glad we could assist the Neligh Fire Department today. That was our pleasure to help. That's why the CVA has developed the rescue team," said Jeff Krebs, regional leader of the CVA Emergency Response Team. “Normally, these outcomes are't that good, but we had a positive outcome and are proud of that.”
Krebs said his team has been through about 30 different practice runs, but this was the first real extradition scenario.
“Yes, this was the first one, and I’m really, really proud of the outcome,” he said. “Colby Freudenburg and Nick Schroth were part of our team today, and we had great assistance from the local fire departments and rescue squads."
Krebs said the team typically would have taken the individual out of the top of the bin, but considering he had been trapped for about an hour and 25 minutes, Krebs wanted the victim taken out of the side where they had cut holes in the bin.
“At that point in time, the victim was in good shape for being in there that long, but we didn’t want to take any chances of adding more stress on him by taking him out of the top and using the ladder,” Krebs said. “We had prepared by cutting holes to let the pressure off of him, so with the resources we had, we took him out a hole.”
It was also the first call for Plainview since the department received a donation for grain bin rescue equipment in 2014 from Husker Ag, Meuret Grain, Farm Credit Services and Farmers Pride. Plainview Fire Assistant Chief Ross Wortman gave credit to Neligh Assistant Chief Dave Jacobsen for calling for mutual aid so quickly.
"Dave called Plainview and CVA before he even made it to the fire hall," Wortman said. "I give him and Mike credit for recognizing the situation and calling for assistance."
Wortman said not only are the teams from Plainview and CVA are ready to help any departments with rescues, but he said Neligh begins training with similar equipment next month. Having so many people trained is a huge asset to the agriculture community.
"We're ready to help, CVA is ready and Neligh will be," Wortman said. "If there's one thing farmers or others in the grain field need to do is to take a look at what could have happened. Take an extra 5-10 minutes that could keep them from getting in that situation, and if they're in that situation, call right away. We have the training, equipment and personnel to get them out."
Mortensen said the situation "could have been (critical) but at least (the victim) was breathing and talking."
Mortensen said mutual aid was also received from the Brunswick Fire Department, Neligh-Oakdale Jaws of Life, Neligh Rescue, Midwest Medical Transport and the Antelope County Sheriff's Department.
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