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Man Dies In Nebraska Grain Elevator Explosion

February 20, 1986

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) _ Two explosions ripped through a grain elevator, killing a worker and injuring a second man in the second blast at the Southeast Nebraska Cooperative Co. in five years.

Kevin Heble, 25, of rural Odell died at 8 p.m. Wednesday at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Lincoln, a hospital spokesman said.

Co-op General Manager Monty Johnson said the cause of the explosions and the extent of the damage to the elevator were not immediately known. In an explosion on Feb. 27, 1981, the elevator’s concrete head house was destroyed and three people were injured, two of them critically.

The two explosions in quick succession at 4:51 p.m. vented out the top of the elevator, said Fire Department Captain Terry Burger.

Burger said Heble, a co-op employee, was apparently unloading milo from a small company truck in the elevator alley. Another elevator employee, Chris Riley, 18, of rural Beatrice, apparently was entering the alley at the time of the explosions, Burger said.

Riley received facial burns and was treated at Beatrice Community Hospital, Johnson said.

The explosion ripped apart the concrete grain-moving leg on the north side of the elevator, Burger said. Windows and a door on the east side of the elevator were blown out and debris scattered across the area.

In grain elevator explosions, sparks ignite dust in the air, creating a fireball.

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