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Fargo man trapped under corn dies

Firefighters from Kindred, Davenport and Leonard remained on the scene at Dakota Ag Co-op in Kindred, N.D., late Thursday night, where a Fargo man had died after getting trapped under corn. Rescue crews spent several hours trying to rescue the man before the operation become a recovery. Dave Samson / The Forum

KINDRED, N.D. - What began as a rescue mission turned to recovery as rescuers tried for more than six hours to reach a Fargo man buried in grain here.

Dispatch received a call from the man's co-workers around 4:55 p.m. when they noticed the man's unattended front-end loader outside.

The body of the 22-year-old man was recovered at about 2:20 a.m., WDAY-TV reported.

The Cass County Sheriff's Office, along with firefighters from Kindred, Davenport, Leonard and Fargo, arrived only to find it difficult to locate the man inside the 45,000-square-foot Dakota Ag Co-op building.

Sheriff Paul Laney said late Thursday night that none of the rescuers had been injured but that the large amount of grain was creating dangerous conditions because it shifted while rescuers searched for the man.

"It got very unstable for them, and it was a pretty close call just because it's a massive warehouse full of corn," Laney said.

According to the Dakota Ag Cooperative website, the building could hold nearly 4 million bushels of corn.

By about 10 p.m., the Cass County coroner was on scene, and Laney said the mission had become a recovery.

"We've located the area where the individual is at," Laney said. "We're not going to give up until we get to him."

Fargo Fire Captain John Speral said an engine company and technical rescue team were on site.

Around 11 p.m., Speral said rescuers were trying to position a trench box around the man, from below the floor.

"There's just so much corn that they can't get the box in place until they move more corn," Speral said.

He said moving the amount of corn needed would likely take another couple of hours.

Laney said they could not release the man's name until he was found and his identity confirmed.

The man is believed to be from north Fargo. He was an employee of the Dakota Co-op.