Lincoln, NE Grain Elevator Explosion, Sep 1975

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PRAEUNER'S BODY PULLED FROM GRAIN-FILLED TUNNEL.

Lincoln, Neb. -- It was quiet when firemen pulled the body of TERRY PRAEUNER from a grain-filled conveyor tunnel beneath the central section of the Far-Mar-Co grain elevator about 3 p.m. Friday.
It was a marked contrast to the noise and confusion surrounding his death in an apparent dust explosion Thursday afternoon, which injured five men and did millions of dollars of damage.
Firemen resumed their search of the elevator at daylight Friday after searching sporadically through the night, according to Fire Inspector Dale Boettcher. The body was found in the area identified by Fire Inspector Jerry Frazier as the apparent starting point for three explosions which ripped through the elevator at 24th and Fair Sts.
PRAEUNER, 23, of 4119 Baldwin, was killed instantly, according to the Lancaster County sheriff's office.
Elevator employes said Thursday night that he had entered the tunnel to test grain.
PRAEUNER'S sister-in-law was waiting outside the badly-damaged office south of the elevator when his body was found. His wife, DEBBIE, reportedly spent the day at home.
Three other men injured in the explosion were listed in critical condition at the St. Elizabeth Health Center burn unit Friday night. They are DONALD BRINKMAN, 28, of Palmyra; FRANCIS
KREIFELS, 39, of 331 N. 32nd, and WILLIAM PALMER, 21, of 1741 N. 22nd.
A fourth man, MIKE MURPHY, 27, of North Bend, was listed in serious condition. ERVIN FUEHRER
of Bradshaw was treated and released from St. Elizabeth Thursday.
The 5:15 p.m. blast opened the top of one row of silos, split the central tower and spewed grain from the north end of the huge storage complex.
A hush surrounded the elevator Friday afternoon.
Lincoln Electric System workers began putting up power poles and restringing lines knocked down in the blast. Jack Lacy, elevator superintendent, and other men spent the day loading rubble onto a truck.
Investigators for Farm Elevator Mutual Insurance of Kansas began assessing damages but said it would be several days before they could total grain and equipment losses and measure structural damage.
The elevator was insured for $2,295,000.
A stream of cars trickled through the area throughout the day. People from the neighborhood south of the elevator stood in little knots, watching and waiting.
And they told each other it couldn't happen.

The Lincoln Star Nebraska 1975-09-27