Beaver Clements got the best birthday present ever yesterday.
Clements and fellow worker James Sykes were trapped by a seed slide in a grain bin Wednesday, Jan. 15 but quick response by local emergency crews saw them both pulled out of the soybeans and sent home last night in good condition. Clements celebrated his 48th birthday Wednesday.
“We got the call and when we got there we found Beaver up to his chin in beans,” said Coahoma County Fire Chief Jerry Mills. “James was trying to help him and got trapped up to his chest. That’s when they stopped and called for help.”
The accident happened at Dulaney/Verdant Seed at the New Africa/Sunflower School crossroads about 10:45 p.m.
Mills said Clements and Sykes were positioning an auger to move beans when Clements began sinking and Sykes tried to help by grabbing his arm.
“Employees heard they were having trouble, stopped the auger and called 911,” said Mills. “We’ve had training in just this situation and it worked right last night.”
Mills said special “grain rescue tubes” were brought in and placed around Sykes and Clements. First responders then used plywood and 2X4’s to build a box and began shoveling and vacuuming out beans with a shop-vac.
Movement or struggling typically makes a person trapped in a grain bin sink. Emergency crews’ first job was to calm the victims and get the plastic tubes around them. Mills said it wasn’t until they got down to Clements’ knees that they were able to get him out.
“I’m so proud of our guys,” said Mills. “They knew exactly what to do and they improvised with the materials they had and got these two guys out safely.”
Mills said more than 35 volunteer firefighters from Coahoma County, Bobo, Lyon and Tallahatchie County responded. The last truck left the scene at 2:30 a.m.
Mills said another twist to the story is Dulaney/Verdant will host a grain bin rescue training session at 6 p.m. Feb. 10 for first responders and grain bin employees from around the county. He urged people attend.
“Training and the proper response makes the difference when second count,” said Mills. “Like I said, I’m so proud of our guys and that everyone got to go home safe last night.”