Grain Bin Safety from Jay Butterfield, Local Survivor

Jay Butterfield is rescued by several fire department officials from a grain bin in Ross, OH.

Riley Township Fire Department

Jay Butterfield is rescued by several fire department officials from a grain bin in Ross, OH.

Since spring is right around the corner, farmers will start planting their crops in the next few weeks. During harvest, it is routine for corn and beans to go into a grain bin, but there are hidden dangers that are important to know about involved with this process. 

These very dangers became reality for one local farmer, Jay Butterfield, 70, who was trapped in a grain bin and nearly died in May 2019. Grain bin safety is something everyone, even non-farmers, should know about.

In a survey administered to RHS students, 22 answered whether they knew what happens if one were to be stuck in a grain bin.

Freshman Bradly Aliger stated, “You get trapped in the grain bin and possibly sucked into the bin if the auger is going.”

Micheal Schwab was one of the many firefighters at Butterfield’s rescue. He explained to the public how grain bin safety is very important. 

Schwab stated, “Grain bins are not dangerous if you respect them. Pay attention to your crop that is in them. And always have two people with you. Grain bins are very important to the farmer and the agricultural world.”

Schwab, as he was on Butterfield’s rescue, was very nervous and scared that it wouldn’t be possible to save Butterfield.

Schwab said, “Helping Jay was very stressful because I knew Jay personally. And as a rescuer that always makes it worse for you to know the person. But I was extremely happy to be there training to be able to rescue him and have the equipment to do it.”

Butterfield thought he was going to die in that grain bin that day. 

“When I went down there to unplug the hole, the auger was still running, and then all at once, it grabbed ahold of me just like someone was pulling me down from the soybeans and I knew I was in trouble. I started yelling and screaming and I thought well I’m a dead man and then my feet finally hit the floor then I kinda calmed down. Then I felt my foot touch the auger while it was going and it took the leather off of my shoe.”

Butterfield wants everyone to know that they need to be safe while working with grain bins and silos, and there are ways to do this properly.

“Make sure you’ve got one or two people there with you to help you out if you get into trouble. If you are in the bin, don’t have the auger running unless you got someone right there to shut it off. Make sure the kids aren’t around since the young kids don’t realize the danger,” said Butterfield.

Make sure to stay safe among grain bins and silos and take caution in everyday life.