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"Unquenchable " Silo Fire Frustrates Farm Couple
We're frustrated but we don't know what to do," says Sharon Pumper, a Millador, Wis., farm wife. She and her husband, George, have been forced to live with an "unquenchable" silo fire that has been burning continuously since last December 31st.
  That's when a series of explosions rocked their 70-ft. tall, 20-ft. dia. concrete stave silo, destroying the silo unloader and blowing out four staves and two doors.
  "It burned up 40 ft. of the silage in the first three weeks, so it was fairly fast-moving. We were concerned it might spread to the barn and then possibly to the house, which is close by," Sharon told FARM SHOW. "Since then it has continued to smolder in the remaining 30 ft. of silage and we've been told it could continue to do so for up to a year."
  When the fire started the local fire department tried to put it out by soaking it with water. But they couldn't put too much water on the fire for fear of toppling the weakened structure. They also tried putting oxygen-limiting foam over the top of the forage and patching the holes blown out of the sides of the silo, but there was apparently enough oxygen reaching the fire through the sides of the silo that it had no effect.
  The Pumpers have received suggestions for putting out the fire, such as soaking the fire with liquid nitrogen, but all ideas have been rejected either because they weren't cost effective or because they wouldn't work on the type of fire they have.
  After the fire started, their insurance company - Seneca-Sigel Mutual Insurance Co. - notifed the Pumpers that their policy would be cancelled on March 13. The company assured the couple that they would pay damages on the silo but would not cover damage to any other structures that might be damaged later. No other insurer is likely to insure the farm at this time unless the silo fire - and whatever damage results from it - is exempted from coverage.
  Any readers with suggestions for how to put out the fire can contact the Pumpers at: George & Sharon Pumper, 10427 Cty. Rd. N., Millador, Wis. 54454 (ph 715 457-6769).

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1999 - Volume #23, Issue #2