Watson, IL -(Effingham Radio)- On 10/19/2018 at approximately 1353 hours, the Watson Fire Protection District was dispatched to the South Central FS Watson Feed Mill, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 45 and Illinois Highway 37, for elevated temperatures in a storage bin. All employees of the facility were reportedly evacuating upon notification of the fire department.
The first arriving Engine Company made contact with South Central FS employees on scene, who advised a storage bin containing corn pellets was extremely hot and the contents had been smoldering. South Central FS employees had already made small inspection holes in the bin and delivered extinguishing agent prior to the fire department’s arrival.
Fire crews made access to the storage bin, which was located on the second floor of the facility and amongst several other storage bins. Crews used thermal imaging equipment to determine the location in the bin where the smoldering contents were concentrated. Crews then made a larger access opening in the bin to facilitate the removal of the product inside. The contents of the bin had to be manually removed due to the pellets becoming “caked together” from the smoldering fire, extinguishing agent and compaction from the weight of the product.
South Central FS employees worked hand in hand with firefighters to make sure the incident was mitigated in the safest manner possible. Once the temperature inside the bin had drastically reduced, content removal operations were turned over completely to feed mill employees.
Those assisting on scene were the Effingham Fire Department, Shumway Fire Protection District, Teutopolis Fire Protection District, Abbott EMS and the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.
The smoldering fire is believed to have originated two days prior when maintenance work was being done on the bin.
Mutual aid companies were released beginning at 1637 hours and all Watson FPD units were clear of the scene at 1742 hours.