Safety is a key concern as crews work to clean up 10,000 tons of corn that spilled onto Ohio 571 from a New Carlisle grain silo after it collapsed earlier this week.
“We’ve had problems with people getting too close taking pictures. People wanting to get a jar of the corn,” New Carlisle Fire Chief Steve Trusty said Tuesday.
Safety officials are asking the public to stay away from the site or stay behind barriers and tape. However, people are walking right into the scene filled with bulldozers, dump trucks and other heavy machinery.
A section of Ohio 571 was closed following the silo collapse at Miami Valley Feed & Grain & Drive-Thru near Scarff Road.
It could take the rest of the week before the state route is safe for travel, officials said.
“Give us the time, because it’s not going to go away in a day,” Trusty said. “It’s going to be a very slow process.”
The pile can shift, move, have a lot of jagged metal, and concrete debris from the telephone poles. The failed silo is 43-years old.
“Anything can happen that’s our concern,” Trusty said. “That’s the reason we are keeping fire crews here on scene the entire time.”
The Springfield News-Sun’s news gathering partners at News Center 7 called several state agencies to see if the silo was regulated but were told no agency checks the structures. The Ohio Department of Agriculture checks what is inside of them.
To ensure a safe cleanup continues, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office will be on scene until it is finished said Maj. Christopher Clark with the sheriff’s office.
“There is heavy equipment operating here, there are trucks constantly moving in and out. People are trying to come around the barricades,” Clark said.
The pile of corn is very unstable, he said.
“There are fall hazards. There are entrapment hazards. It can basically be like quicksand,” Clark said.
People have been trying to climb up on the pile and that is very unsafe, he said.
The facility is private property and at this time is being treated as a crime scene, “until proven otherwise, ” Clark said.
“We really don’t know at this point what happened to cause the collapse. So, we are going to be here to secure the scene,” Clark said.
People who are found on site could be subject to criminal charges like driving on a closed road, criminal trespassing, and disorderly conduct.
Trusty said the corn is being moved onto the property of the grain silo owner for insurance purposes, however once insurance issues are addressed it will be the property owner’s responsibility for removal.