Hemlock Grain Storage Dome Fire Still Burning Weeks After Massive Blaze Torches Over 3 Million Bushels of Corn in Michigan

When it takes 7.5 million gallons of water to get a fire under control, and it keeps burning, that’s not a good thing.

One fueled by 3 million bushels of corn, which can’t be good for the United States and our crops and feed supplies.

It’s ow been 28 days since a fire engulfed a massive grain storage dome operated by the Andersons Inc in Hemlock – Just west of Saginaw – requiring more than 150 firefighters from across Michigan to rush to the small town to fight the towering flames.

Rob Grose watched the night of Dec 18, 2022 as fire crews tendered in water from nearby Thomas Township, running “like clockwork” to move the initial 3.4 million gallons in to try to extinguish the massive blaze.

“I’m truly proud of our fire department,” said Grose, who serves as the supervisor of Richland Township, which encompasses Hemlock.

“They really went above and beyond here. Same thing with mutual aid throughout the state. It was like clockwork, like they worked together for years. It was just amazing.”

There were more than 80 fire departments that helped in the immediate aftermath of the fire. While those crews have long returned home, the cause of the fire has still yet to be determined.

An investigation by the Michigan State Police, the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) is still ongoing. They have since released the scene to the Anderson farm.

“There is a fire going deep, deep down into the grain,” Grose told Michigan Farm News. “Every time you move the corn, it’ll spark up a little bit because it’s getting more oxygen.”

The Andersons brought in a salvage company from Iowa that started sifting through the corn that’s left and screening out debris using special equipment and two large cranes, according to Grose.

His understanding is that the company is waiting for USDA and FDA officials to give them permission to move the corn off-site while they wait to learn if the remaining corn could be reclaimed for use in ethanol, and/or cattle feed.

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The process Grose says will take several months. He said the site is being monitored by speciality crews brought in from Iowa that have cameras set up to watch the scene around the clock.

While that process is playing out, there’s a mountain of uncertainty for the community that’s as big as the still smoldering grain pile itself.

“We’re ag-dependent here,” Grose noted, adding that it’s “devastating right now” to think about what’s ahead for farmers.

“The issue, quite frankly, for the farmers in this area is what are they going to do with their products next fall? And we’re not sure, we don’t have an answer for that yet.”

This is not good for American agriculture, or our food supply, and the mainstream media is silent on it.

“The Andersons is handling it, but at some point in time here — I would think in the next month or so —they’ll probably reach out to us to have a discussion on what the future holds there and what they’re going to do.”

Thanks to our friends at Michigan Farm News for contributing to this article.

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