After grain bin incident, Cedar Rapids man owes first responders debt of gratitude

A Cedar Rapids man says he has first responders to thank after they rescued him from a grain bin Thursday evening.
Published: Jan. 30, 2022 at 10:48 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cedar Rapids man said he has first responders to thank after they rescued him from a grain bin Thursday evening

“It felt like my leg was being crushed by a vice with all the pressure from the corn,” Darrell Benish, of Cedar Rapids, said.

Benish was rescued by the Cedar Rapids Fire Department, as well as the Swisher Fire department, after getting trapped inside a grain bin Thursday evening.

“I was trying to push the auger in with my foot, and it slipped,” Benish said. “The suction sucked me in there, and nobody saw what happened.”

Benish was stuck for about 2 hours with freezing grain covering his body up to his shoulders. Firefighters attempted to insert a barrier to keep more corn from completely covering him.

“I couldn’t even breathe,” Benish said. “They put that insert around me to keep the corn from covering my body, but it was the most pain I’ve felt in my life.”

“When you have a situation like this where we can make a rescue, and the person survives, that’s rare,” Capt. Brian Hall, with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department, said.

Hall was the first person to make contact with Benish followed by a paramedic. First responders cut four holes in the side of the bin to release as much corn as possible.

“We were very fortunate that he was only about six feet from a door,” Hall said. “That also needs to be taken into account for some of the crushing factors. He was not in the center and all the pressure going towards his direction.”

Thursday wasn’t only Hall’s first-grain bin rescue in his 33-year career, it was also his last full shift. Sunday, he signed off for the last time.

“These are the type of scenarios where we’ve truly made a difference in people’s lives,” Hall said. “Not just in his life, but in their family’s lives too.”

Hall said he looked forward to the next chapter of his life, but Benish and his family were thankful they could continue writing his.

“I’m just fortunate there wasn’t more grain in the bin,” Benish said. “If there had been another foot, it could have covered me up, and I could have died.”

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