Thirty-eight tons of bran had to be unloaded Monday after firefighters grew concerned that a fire atop a grain silo at a flour mill in northeastern Spain may have spread to the silo’s contents.
Grain dust is a highly explosive substance that must be handled carefully. In 1977, two grain elevator explosions only five days apart in Louisiana and Texas killed 56 people. More recently, a 1997 grain dust explosion in Blaye, France, killed 11.
At about 6:45 a.m. firefighters with the Delegation of Zaragoza arriving at the flour mill in Tauste found flames rising from machinery atop a 22-meter-tall bran silo. Firefighters from nearby Ejea de los Caballeros and La Almunia were also summoned to the scene.
Armed with a pumper, a tower ladder with a special articulated arm and a command car, the firefighters were able to extinguish the fire above the silo. However, concern grew that the fire might have extended to the bran inside, smoldering away.
Firefighters decided to empty the silo to be sure the fire would not rekindle, the Delegration of Zaragoza Facebook page states.