Boiler Explosions Rock Gold Eagle Coop

Photo: A semi truck sits near the exploded boiler.
A semi truck sits in the receiving dock at Gold Eagle Cooperative in Eagle Grove, IA. Beside it is the boiler which exploded, blasting out part of the building, and debris from the explosion.
Ed Lynn

A massive explosion in the boiler used to generate steam used in the production process of feed pellets at the Gold Eagle Cooperative plant in Eagle Grove exploded suddenly at around 10:00 am Thursday morning. There were no injuries, but there were some miraculous close calls.

"It was a big rumble," said Feed Division Manager Brad DeVries, describing the sound he heard and the vibrations he felt in the office, not far from the explosion.

Truck driver Jon White was in he midst of the explosion, and miraculously escaped injury. He gave a vivid description of his experience. "I was just in there, in my truck getting ready to enter my information when I heard a big boom," White said. "I turned around and I looked and couldn't even see my truck from all the steam and I heard a secondary explosion and felt stuff hitting my legs, there was flying debris everywhere, so I took off running."

Rhonda Schaffer, beside her car, skewered by debris through the roof, down into the driver's seat.

White described the sequence of events after he heard the second explosion. "It sounded like the roof was starting to come down on the north side of the building, then I head the gas leak, and the debris started falling." White ran for his life when the debris started to hit him, expecting something else to happen. "I knew something wasn't right."

Rhonda Schaffer was lucky she wasn't in the driver's seat of her car when the explosions happened. If she had been, she would have been skewered by the long shaft of metal that pierced the roof of her car, and reached down below the steering wheel inside. Right in the center of the driver's seat. "It only has 20,000 miles on it," Schaffer lamented, but then added, "it's just stuff. It's just a car."

DeVries was just grateful no one was hurt. "It was a real Christmas miracle. That's the good news. No one was hurt. That's what matters."

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The Eagle Grove Eagle

The Eagle Grove Eagle
P.O. Box 6
304 West Broadway
Eagle Grove, IA 50533
Phone: 1-515-448-4745
FAX: 1-515-448-3182

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