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Rockton Farmer Rescued from Grain Bin

A dozen fire departments and several hours later, one man is lucky to be alive tonight.

ROCKTON- First responders work to save a Rockton farmer who fell into a grain bin at 10794 Bates Road.

Roger Bates, 78, knows he's fortunate to be alive.

"I’m feeling great. I’m very lucky I had many people who rescued me,” said Bates.

Bates went into the grain bin when the auger was running, which he says is a big “no, no.” As soon as he slipped his grandson immediately called 911.

"He was able to get the lose corn away from him, but of course then corn keeps compacting. The more you move the more it's like quicksand," said Family Member Wayne Bates.

Because the grain acts like quicksand, Rockford Fire Chief Matt Knott says it's a complex situation. Firefighters must use a rescue wall to slowly move the grain.

"What we did was establish that rescue shield around him. So we established an area of approximately 15 square feet and drove sheeting in, basically it's metal sheets, and removed the grain out of that," explained Knott.

Knott says the early 911 call is what made a difference. That many grain bin accidents don't end well because there's no one there to dial first responders. .

Roger Bates was released from a local hospital; he says he only felt a little cold.

"I’m going to take it easy for now because I’ll be 79 here in August. And my grandson and son are there to cover for me," said Bates.

Firefighters say the best thing to do in a situation like this is to call 911. That early call is the matter between life and death.

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