Crews fight grain bin fire for two days near Macomb

The day after it started, firefighters continued to battle a blaze in a grain storage facility just east of Macomb, Illinois.

The Macomb Fire Department told News 8 they initially thought there was an estimated 700,000 bushels of dried corn inside the bin; Tuesday, crews said that number was more than 800,000 bushels.

When the fire broke out at the Western Grain Marketing rail shuttle facility, 21050 U.S. Highway 136 in Adair on Monday, May 19, 2014. The first 911 call happened just before 2:30 p.m. that day.

A notice on the company’s website said the Adair Rail Shuttle facility would be closed until further notice, and that Route 136 traffic in front of the shuttle was also being diverted.

Macomb Fire Chief Andy Taylor said crews could not use an auger to get grain out of the bin because it would stir up grain dust that could ignite and explode.

The risk of a possible grain dust explosion prompted the closure of Illinois Route 136 between Route 41 and Adair. Route 41 was also reportedly closed between Bushnell and Adair. Four nearby homes were also evacuated as a precaution.

Firefighters continued working through the night, and were still at the scene of the fire Tuesday, May 20.  They had cut holes in the bin to release some of the smouldering grain as part of their ongoing efforts that afternoon.

State Police said the fire was out and roads were reopened to traffic by 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The facility is one of 14 the company operates across Illinois.