Engineer Timothy Shane Hardy and members of his fire department were dispatched to a report of a fire in a mill. Upon the arrival of firefighters, mill workers explained that they were dealing with a fire in a large bin that contained wheat hulls. The wheat hull bin was one of five in a 100-foot tall silo; the only access to the top of the silo was by means of a man lift. In order to assess the status of the fire, two firefighters were assigned to ride the man lift to the top of the silo. Mill employees provided firefighters with information on the operation of the man lift. Engineer Hardy was the first to ascend, wearing full structural fire-fighting protective clothing. Near the top of the silo, Engineer Hardy became wedged in the confined space between the man lift and the structural members of the landing platform. Apparently, Engineer Hardy’s SCBA caught on the structural member. The force of the man lift bent Engineer Hardy backwards and did not allow him to operate the man-lift controls. Engineer Hardy was obviously dead when he was reached by plant employees and firefighters. Engineer Hardy’s body was removed from the silo after the arrival of a ladder truck from the Joplin Fire Department. The original fire was determined to be accidental, caused by sparks from welding.
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