Friday update: Firefighters on scene of grain elevator explosion in Chandler for 16 hours

CHANDLER — A massive explosion and fire at Chandler Feed Company’s grain elevator in Chandler rocked the community during the noon hour Wednesday, and kept area firefighters on the scene for nearly 16 hours.

The explosion blew out a portion of the structure and sent flames shooting toward the sky.

A press release issued Thursday morning by Murray County Sheriff Heath Landsman stated that one person was injured and transported to an area hospital for treatment of injuries. The individual’s condition was not known, Landsman stated.

Attacking from above
Worthington Fire Department’s aerial truck was called in to assist Pipestone’s ladder truck and other area department pumpers in providing mutual aid to the Chandler Fire Department as they battled a fire following a grain elevator explosion at Chandler Feed Company Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 22, 2023.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Chandler City Clerk Kris Gunnink was working in her office at City Hall when the explosion occurred. City Hall is just a half block from the feed company’s east location.

“I kind of heard a rumble,” Gunnink described. “Sometimes you can hear that when trucks go down our main avenue, but this was more than a rumble — it was just a full-on explosion.”

Gunnink said she stepped outside of Chandler’s City Hall just as bank employees across the street were doing the same.

“There was ash on fire, floating through the air,” she said of the situation. “Several from the bank are firefighters.”

With the fire hall attached to city hall, they didn’t have far to go to get to the trucks.

“It’s all within 100 feet of each other,” she said.

I kind of heard a rumble. Sometimes you can hear that when trucks go down our main avenue, but this was more than a rumble — it was just a full-on explosion.

Kris Gunnink, Chandler City Clerk

The Chandler Feed Company is owned by the Krosschell family, with several partners in the business. Among them is Stacey Kruisselbrink, who works at the west location — the main office for Chandler Feed.

“It was just a big boom and we didn’t know what had happened,” Kruisselbrink said, noting that the explosion happened at about 12:36 p.m. Wednesday.

Landsman said firefighters were on the scene until approximately 4:20 a.m. Thursday, and noted that the Chandler Fire Department continued to monitor the scene to ensure the fire didn’t reignite.

It was just a big boom and we didn’t know what had happened.

Stacey Kruisselbrink, Chandler Feed Co.

One of the oldest structures in the complex, the grain elevator was rebuilt after the June 16, 1992 tornado that went through Chandler, she said, but she was unsure if it was partially or totally reconstructed.

The grain elevator housed both corn and soybeans, and elevated grain to adjacent grain bins, Kruisselbrink said. It isn’t yet known how much grain was destroyed by the explosion and fire.

Grain elevator explosion
Multiple fire departments responded to a grain elevator explosion Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 22, 2023, at Chandler Feed Company in Chandler.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

A command center was set up at the former Chandler School, which is now owned by Monogram Meat Snacks, and tankers were hauling water from both Chandler and Lake Wilson initially.

Fire departments responding to the blaze included Chandler, Lake Wilson, Edgerton, Iona, Worthington, Pipestone, Slayton and Woodstock. Also responding were the Lake Wilson First Responders, Edgerton Ambulance, Murray County Ambulance, Murray County Emergency Management, Nobles County Emergency Management, Grimmius Trucking Bolluyt Trucking, Excel Energy and C and J Construction.

Assisting the Murray County Sheriff’s Office were the Pipestone and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Offices, Minnesota State Patrol and the Buffalo Ridge Drug and Violent Crime Task Force.

“We would like to thank the local businesses who brought food, water and allowed us to use their buildings to feed and provide for breaks for emergency responders,” Landsman said in the press release issued Thursday. “We are very fortunate to live in a small community where people just step up and help their neighbors in times of need.

The Chandler Feed Co. also has locations in Woodstock, Edgerton, Hardwick, Leota and Pipestone.


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