ROY, Wash. (AP) — A worker was missing and presumed dead after a silo collapsed and spilled 50 tons of corn at a facility that was cited this year for six "serious" safety violations, officials said Tuesday.
Rescuers will be unable to recover the body until they stabilize two other silos that were damaged in Monday's accident at the Wilcox Family Farms facility in Roy, South Pierce Fire & Rescue Chief Bob Vellias said.
"Our fear is that when we eradicate the corn and grain away from the silo, it will compromise the damaged silos and create another issue," Vellias said. "It's going to collapse on the area we're trying to work on."
The worker was one of two performing maintenance on the silo when it gave way for an unknown reason, Vellias said. The other worker and two people in a nearby office escaped.
In its most recent safety inspection, the Wilcox Family Farms facility was cited for six "serious" safety violations, according to records provided by the state Department of Labor and Industries. The company was assessed a $10,000 penalty after that June review.
Brent Wilcox, one of the business's owners, told The News Tribune that the company is deeply saddened by the loss of an employee.
"We're a family company," he said. "We treat all our employees like family members." The company did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Wilcox Family Farms supplies eggs throughout the Northwest.
Inspectors cited the company for not having adequate rescue and emergency services available around a "containment pit" and a corn tank. The state wrote in documents that employees who entered confined spaces were at risk of serious injury or death if adequate emergency services were not available to safely remove them from the space.