Canadian Manufacturing

Silo used to hold pecan shells blows up in rural Georgia

The explosion caused minor damage in the surrounding area but no injuries; dust collecting in agriculture silos is highly combustible if triggered


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VALDOSTA, Ga.—A silo used to store pecan hulls exploded Jn. 31 in rural south Georgia, shattering windows in businesses blocks away.

Workers reported buildings shook just before 1 p.m. when the silo exploded outside the offices of South Georgia Pecan in Valdosta, a city of about 56,000 people near the Georgia-Florida state line. No injuries were reported, said Valdosta Fire Capt. James Clinkscales.

Windows shattered in a clothing shop, jewelry store and other businesses in downtown Valdosta, the Valdosta Daily Times reported. Twisted metal littered a parking lot behind a state building near the pecan company, and the paper reported a car was damaged by the debris. Streets around the site were barricaded as firefighters and other first responders converted on the scene.

“I’m just glad it was what it was and not what it could have been,” said Kim Stephenson, a Valdosta building owner who added damage could have been much worse.

Hannah Russell, who works in sales and marketing at South Georgia Pecan, said the silo was used for storing pecan hulls. She said most of the damage from the explosion was limited to a single silo and the blast would not hamper the company’s business operations. It wasn’t clear what if anything was in the silo at the time.

“We will do everything in our power to make sure (the explosion) is investigated thoroughly,” Russell said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately determined.

Dust collecting in agricultural silos can be highly combustible and may ignite like gunpowder if triggered by a spark. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there have been more than 500 silo explosions in the U.S. since 1976.


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