1 person missing after silo collapse at Wilcox Farms in Roy

Staff writerDecember 2, 2013 

A Wilcox Farms worker was missing Monday night after a silo collapsed at the business’s Roy feed mill.

Crews were dispatched at 3:10 p.m. to the feed mill at McNaught Road South and Higgins Greig Road, along the railroad tracks in the center of Roy.

Rescuers were unable to search for the missing worker because they were waiting for engineers to help stabilize the structure, South Pierce Fire & Rescue Chief Bob Vellias said.

Vellias had no details about the missing person, except that he worked for the business.

“We’re still holding out for the best, but we won’t know until later,” Vellias said. “It’s probably a pretty long operation we’re looking at here.”

Wilcox Farms officials were not speaking with media, Vellias said. The family farm, started in 1909, supplies eggs throughout the Pacific Northwest.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the collapse but when the support system around the silo gave way, it started to pancake, Vellias said.

In the process, it hit an adjacent silo, which lost its support system and started leaning against the silo that had already collapsed.

One silo was mostly empty, but the other contained about 50 tons of corn, Vellias said.

The feed spilled into another building at the mill and filled an office and electrical area with corn. Four people inside, including the worker still missing, were inside the building. 

The spilled feed was the only thing supporting the structures enough to keep them from collapsing further.

“We’re really unable to remove any of the grain, because it would jeopardize the structure,” Vellias said.

An engineer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency arrived, and was assessing the building to determine whether it was safe for a search and rescue K-9 to enter, Vellias said.

Because of darkness, crews didn’t expect to safely assess, stabilize and fully search the wreckage until Tuesday, the chief said.

The county-wide technical rescue team was dispatched, and Wilcox Farms called in a silo engineer to help, Vellias said.

Alexis Krell: 2534-597-8268

alexis.krell@thenewstribune.com

www.thenewstribune.com/crime-news

@amkrell

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