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Andersen Farms' grain elevator explosion

The Andersen Farms grain elevator in South Sioux City was damaged by an explosion on May 29. The City of South Sioux City has filed a lawsuit against the elevator's owner seeking more than $120,000 that the city spent responding to the emergency.

SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- The city of South Sioux City has gone to court to seek reimbursement of more than $120,000 it spent in response to a grain elevator explosion earlier this year.

The city has sued the elevator's owner, Andersen Farms Inc. and Bryce Andersen, saying that Andersen has failed to pay a $120,034 invoice it sent to him in July for payment of emergency expenses racked up by the city in response to the May 29 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 Thursday in Dakota County District Court by city attorney Michael Schmiedt.

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 on June 11, and the emergency lifted.

The city's invoice, which was attached to the lawsuit, showed that the South Sioux City Police Department accrued expenses of $46,827 in personnel and vehicle costs. The city's fire department had $33,313 in expenses linked to the emergency. 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 has not been released. Local and state fire officials are no longer investigating the case, and other government agencies dropped their investigations because the privately owned elevator did not have enough workers to fall within agency jurisdictions.

One employee, 55-year-old Maurice C. Kellogg, was hospitalized with severe burns and died July 9.

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