A man in his 20’s or early 30’s fell into a silo filled with sand at Hutton Precast Concrete on Rogers Street and the Missoula City Fire Department responded and performed a dramatic rescue that took over three hours.

Missoula City Fire Chief Jeff Brandt described what happened to KGVO News as he was returning back to the fire station.

“The man was probably in his late 20s or early 30s,” said Chief Brandt. I’m not sure what they were doing in that silo whether it was maintenance or whatever, but unfortunately, he slipped down and fell, and when we arrived, he was buried up to just under his ears and around his chin so his whole body was covered in sand.”

Brandt said the rescue was complicated by the very nature of the silo to empty its contents out of the bottom.

“Every time we got sucker trucks in there, and we would keep excavating the sand obviously he would keep moving down,” he said. “The sand would shift down and continued that hazard all the way down. We were able to try to put a barrel around him and continue to suck out the sand. We harnessed him up, and we had a rescuer get down inside with him to monitor his medical condition.”

Brandt said the rescue effort was complicated by the increasingly cold temperature of the sand the victim was trapped in.

“He was starting to deal with some hypothermia being up in that cold wet sand,” he said. “We were just trying to keep his body temperature warm and oxygenated. We were not only dealing with kind of those external factors, but we also had that ‘crushing compartment syndrome’ going on with that sand packed tighter and tighter around his extremities on his whole body.”

After several hours Chief Brandt said the rescue effort came to a successful close.

“Eventually with the great work of all those folks, the firefighters and street department folks and the employees on scene, we brought him out after about three hours of work,” he said.  It was an amazing rescue today. We had over 20 folks on scene. So there were firefighters, Missoula Emergency Services, along with help from our street department and the sewer department with their sucker trucks.”

Brandt said at last report the victim was being treated at St. Patrick Hospital and ‘he was doing very well.’

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