Overnight fire destroys Miller Grain Elevator - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Overnight fire destroys Miller Grain Elevator

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Hours after the initial fire, smoke still lingers in the small town of Miller, South Dakota.

The fire broke out Wednesday night in the town's grain elevator.

The fire prompted road closures and even some evacuations.

Officials were concerned about winds and fumes from some chemicals inside.

Things were under control by daylight, but the recovery has just begun.

According to Miller Fire Chief Stephan Resel, the fire department responded to the call just after 11pm Wednesday.

The grain elevator is owned and operated by Performance Seed.

They use the facility to clean and store sunflower seeds for bird food.

According to Chief Resel, the fire went up so quickly the fire department was forced to contain the fire and try to prevent any other structures from being lit.

A nearby garage did have a flare-up but was contained.

Resel says the elevator could burn for several weeks if it's not properly cleaned up, which could cause headaches for some local residents.

"They've got a clean-up crew, they're discussing doing details trying to find if they can get somebody to pick it up, clean it up, and save the smoke forever," Resel said.

The State Fire Marshalls office is currently investigating the cause of the blaze.

Dozens of people in Miller had to be evacuated overnight.

The smoke and flames could be seen for miles, even in the dark.

Wilber Lerew was asleep when he was woken up by a knock at his front door just after midnight.

"First I heard a knock one the door and it was some of my neighbors were here, and then finally the cop came along and told us we had to move out," Lerew said.

According to firefighters on scene, a combination of embers and chemicals burning in the elevator were a serious concern.

"We got out as soon as they told us to," Lerew said.

Lerew was one of more than 40 people evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night.

He says he went down the road to watch the fire.

"Well, it was flaming up and they were shooting water on it, and it was a pretty good fire," Lerew said.

After nearly four hours of watching and waiting, firefighters on scene told Lerew and others they were safe to go home.

Hours after the fire first started smoke is still billowing from the elevator, shrouding the town and Lerew's home in a cloud of smoke that will leave an imprint on the town of Miller.

No injuries were reported.

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