Fire closes Andersons’ marine grain facility


SALEM, Ohio – Black smoke billowed high into the sky above Toledo July 1 after a series of explosions and a subsequent fire at a grain facility owned by The Andersons.
The facility is closed for repairs, and no estimate on reopening is available.
Turn of events. Jim McKinstray, facility general manager, said the fire erupted around 3:30 p.m. July 1 at the Edwin Drive marine grain terminal.
McKinstray said the fire damaged horizontal belts, vertical elevator legs and grain, resulting in “dramatic black smoke” as the rubber belts burned quickly.
There was also structural steel damage.
The Edwin Drive terminal stores corn and wheat, about 7 percent of the company’s total grain storage capacity.
Investigators traced the explosions to a upright concrete bin, McKinstray said. He could not provide further details due to ongoing investigations.
Closed. The facility had closed for the July Fourth holiday weekend at the time of the incident, so no customers or employees were hurt in the explosion, McKinstray said.
The terminal is currently inoperative and there’s no estimate when it might reopen, McKinstray said.
The terminal is owned by Cargill and leased by The Andersons
. The companies will likely enter a joint undertaking for repairs, McKinstray said.
The company will rely on three other Toledo-area marine ports to handle grain, he said.
“Our other Andersons’ elevators in the Toledo area will help us fulfill our cash grain purchase and sale contracts as well as any delivery obligations to the Chicago Board of Trade,” said Hal Reed, president of The Andersons’ grain division.
Reed also said in a company statement that officials plan to work around the damaged structures and begin repairs.
Finances. Gary Smith, company vice president of finance and treasurer, said insurance for property losses and business interruption is adequate, but claims and reconstruction should stretch into 2006.
That would affect the company’s overall earnings statement.
The Andersons’ insurance carries a $250,000 deductible for this incident.
About the company. The Andersons Inc. is a diversified company with interests in grain and agricultural fertilizer, plus railcar marketing, turf products and general merchandise.
Founded in Maumee, Ohio, in 1947, the company has operations in seven U.S. states plus rail equipment leasing interests in Canada and Mexico.
Total revenues in 2004 were $1.3 billion.
(Reporter Andrea Myers welcomes reader feedback by phone at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at


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