WEST FARGO, N.D. — Firefighters save lives from burning buildings on a regular basis. But the North Dakota Firefighters Association is helping local fire crews take on a new type of rescue.

West Fargo fire crews drilled the holes, and loaded a dummy into a makeshift grain bin, a tool the North Dakota Firefighters Association is providing to help firefighters across the state save more lives.

"Regular firefighting, we pull our hose daily, weekly. Higher-risk things, like this grain bin extrication, we don't do all the time," says West Fargo training chief Matt Berg.

Firefighters got harnessed up

"Here you go. Merry Christmas."

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And made their way up the stairs to take on their rescue roles.

Berg says while this is only a simulation, the training still feels real.

"It is going to be noisy, there's going to be augers running," he said. "There's going to be trucks running, tractors running on the outside trying to move the grain away from the grain bin."

As crews moved the grain around and set up barriers around the wooden body.

"Got his shoulder."


"Farmers are in their bins all the time, so training like this, we need to take advantage of it as much as we can."

- Matt Berg


Berg was reminded of his own experience with a grain bin accident, one year before coming to West Fargo.

"I was part of one in Ramsey County, a fatality. I'm not totally sure of the circumstance that happened, but we ended up having to cut holes in the side," he says.

With that real-life experience under his belt, Berg hopes the rest of the crew learns the same knowledge in hopes of preventing a tragedy.

"Farmers are in their bins all the time, so training like this, we need to take advantage of it as much as we can," he says.

Berg says there have been five deaths from grain bin accidents within the last year in North Dakota, including one in Jamestown in February.