Sioux City, IA Grain Elevator Explosion, Apr 1974

Sioux City IA Grain Elevator Explosion 1974.jpg Sioux City IA Grain Elevator Explosion 1974 3.jpg


Sioux City (UPI) -- Four men were crushed under tons of concrete and grain here Tuesday when sparks from machinery apparently touched off a dust explosion in the silo at a local grain elevator.
Authorities identified the four killed as GEORGE GRUNEICH and MARTIN McCORMICK, both of Sioux City who were employes at the Bartlett Grain ELevator, and EDWARD JOHNSTON, 58, of Sioux City and NORBERT BERTRAND, 50, of Jefferson, S.D. Officials said JOHNSTON and BERTRAND were employes of the Sioux City grain exchange.
Injured in the blast and hospitalized in fair condition with burns and possible fractures was DEAN FRAY, 39, of Bronson. FRY, a grain worker, was the first man removed from the explosion site.
Authorities said their initial investigation revealted that the explosion which occurred near the top of the silo, was apparently ignited by a spark from machinery. Officers said 11 persons were working at the mill at the time, and that FRY and the four killed were working in the vicinity of the silo where railroad cars were being loaded with corn.
Several rail cars, authorities said, were extensively damaged by the debris. They said the elevator was still standing, but that debris covered a 150 yard radius around the silo.
Flying cement also caused extensive damage to the American Popcorn Co. building located about 100 yards to the west of the silo. A wall was pushed in at the popcorn plant by the impact from the explosion, but no injuries were reported.
The elevator is located in the northwest part of the city along U.S. 75. Authorities said several police and fire units were dispatched to the scene, but that rescue efforts were hampered temporarily while officials feared a second explosion.
A witness said the top of the elevator's silo "blew off" and spilled concrete and grain on the five men working below. Three of the bodies were found in the debris and the fourth was discovered in a tunnel under the elevator.

Ames Daily Tribune Iowa 1974-05-01


I just sat through a tornado

I just sat through a tornado warning with Mr . Fry in Oelwein at Mc Donalds. What an incredible story. Especially when he talked about the cold feeling his rescuers had overcome them that helped find him. They need to make a movie about this.

Bartlett Grain elevator explosion

The man you met fishing was my dad Lloyd,(Dean)
where did you meet him fishing? Eastern Ia.?

Met Lloyd fishing yesterday Sept 1 2013

He told my buddy and I about the explosion. He was out walking. He was quite spry. It was good to meet him. Nice guy

I met Loyd Fry last night.

I met Loyd Fry last night. He told me bout the explosion.

Blew off is right!!

Blew off is right. I was 17 & home sick from school that day. I was sitting in the front room looking out my window & watched it blow. I lived on the top of Polk hill & it shook the house.

Bartlett Grain Elevator Explosion

My father Loyd Dean Fry was a survivor of the explosion. He spent 7 months in the hospitol with 3rd. degree burns.I was wandering if any other family member our friend of any of the victoms would be interested in creating some sort of memorial.

My father is Dean Fry,he has

My father is Dean Fry,he has never forgotten the people who lost their lves that day, he still talks about what happened, he has the horrible scars from the burns. I remember going to the hospital to see him and i was just a little one. It's a day that changed all of our lives and should never be forgotten

We've met the only survivor.

We were enjoying an afternoon fishing today, without much success, when an elderly gentleman arrived near our location. After some rather informal introductions and the usual fishing B.S. we came to be introduced to Mr. Fry, the only survivor of this terrible disaster. We found him to be a very thoughtful and interesting man. He informed us of the tragedy that had happened so long ago and we found ourselves leaving there with a greater appreciation for life than he most likely expected his story to have. We had a lousy day of catching fish, but consider ourselves very lucky to have met him and to hear his story. God bless you Mr. Fry.

My father was one of the men

My father was one of the men killed. I was only 7 years old when I lost him. I miss him so very much to this day. He was not only a great man but, a wonderful father.

My grandfather worked there.

My grandfather worked there. Those were his friends who died in the explosion.