The Andersen Farms grain elevator in South Sioux City was damaged by an explosion on May 29, 2018. The City of South Sioux City has reached a $75,000 settlement agreement with the elevator's owner for reimbursement for money the city spent responding to the emergency.
The agreement was reached last month during a mediation session. All sides cited a desire to avoid the costs and uncertainties of continued litigation of the lawsuit, according to a copy of the settlement agreement.
The city in February sued Andersen Farms Inc., Andersen Family Farms, Bryce Andersen and Luanne Andersen, seeking payment of a $120,034 invoice it sent for payment of emergency expenses the city incurred in response to the May 29, 2018, explosion at the facility at 2415 Fourth Ave.
The city is entitled to reimbursement of emergency expenses from the owner of a premises that has been deemed an unsafe structure and must be secured, according to city code cited in the lawsuit, filed in Dakota County District Court.
According to the settlement, the city has received $20,000 from Continental Western Insurance Company, $30,000 from Farmers Mutual Insurance Company and $25,000 from the Andersens. The two insurance companies had issued liability policies to the Andersens.
The agreement settles all claims that had been raised in the lawsuit.
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Police and firefighters respond to the May 29 explosion of the Andersen Farms grain elevator in South Sioux City. Emergency personnel leaders said many lessons were learned in the response to the blast and the ensuing two weeks spent monitoring the structure before it was pulled down.
A gaping hole is shown on the side of a grain elevator following an explosion and fire near the intersection 4th Avenue and West 24th Street in South Sioux City, Nebraska, Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Sioux City Journal photo by Tim Hynds
Emergency workers respond to the scene of a grain elevator explosion and fire near the intersection 4th Avenue and West 24th Street in South Sioux City, Nebraska, Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Sioux City Journal photo by Tim Hynds
An explosion tore a hole in the side of the elevator's tower, and city personnel closed area streets and evacuated dozens of residents because the structure was deemed as unstable and a threat to collapse. The tower was demolished two weeks later, and the emergency was lifted.
The city's invoice to the Andersens showed that the South Sioux City Police Department accrued expenses of $46,827 in personnel and vehicle costs, and the fire department had $33,313 in expenses. Other expenses included public works costs, equipment and material purchase and rental, and charges for shutting down electricity in the neighborhood.
A cause of the explosion, which resulted in the death of one worker, has not been released. The grain elevator was not subject to enforcement by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because the privately owned facility had too few employees to fall within its jurisdiction.
Local and state fire officials ceased investigating a cause after the elevator was torn down.
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