Crews suspended their search Sunday for three people missing after a thunderous explosion at a Kansas grain elevator killed three workers and hospitalized two others with severe burns.
The blast, which shook the ground so hard that it was felt into neighboring Missouri, is a harrowing reminder of the dangers workers face inside elevators brimming with highly combustible grain dust at the end of the harvest season.
The explosion Saturday night at the elevator in Atchison, about 50 miles northwest of Kansas City, sent an orange fireball into the night sky, shot off a chunk of the grain distribution building directly above the elevator and blew a large hole in the side of the one of its concrete silos.
Officials with Bartlett Grain Co., which owns and operates the elevator, decided to temporarily halt the search for the three missing people — one worker and two grain inspectors— because it was unsafe to be inside the facility, said Atchison City Manager Trey Cocking. Smoke could still be seen billowing from the top, and officials were fearful the building could fall on top of rescue crews.