Amish Father & 2 Sons Die In Tragic Silo Accident

Very sad story from central PA, via the Altoona Mirror:

Three members of an Amish family died in a farming accident Wednesday morning.

Centre County Coroner Scott Sayers said Andrew Beiler, 47, and his two sons ages 14 and 19 died from asphyxiation after they were trapped inside a silo. The buildup in gases inside the silo caused their deaths, which have been ruled accidental.

Silos present a set of dangers, one of which is this threat of gas buildup. More on that in the Centre Daily Times:

Silo gas — formed by the natural fermentation of chopped silage shortly after it is placed in the silo — is not one of the leading causes of farming fatalities, but can be one of the most toxic.

Carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are two of the most prevalent gases found in silos. The former is colorless and odorless, while the latter has a strong bleach-like odor and can appear yellow to reddish-brown.

Andrew Beiler, 47, and his two sons, Michael said, most likely inhaled carbon dioxide.

One of Beiler’s sons was working in the silo when his father checked on him, said Michael, citing first responder reports. The eldest Beiler jumped in to help, but was overcome by the gas. His second son followed, but was also overcome. “This is often what happens with tragedies around farms where one family member or one employee will be overcome by some type of gas, and then someone else goes and tries to rescue them and they are also overcome,” Michael said. “This is how we have these multiple fatality events.”

I’ve heard of other silo-related fatalities but not one involving gas buildup, rather, accidents when individuals become trapped in grain. As noted above this article states that this type of poisoning is not one of the top causes of farm fatalities. I would assume the danger is well-known, but in the moment when someone is overcome I imagine it must be very difficult to fight the instinct to attempt to save one’s loved one. Especially if it is a young person without a lot of experience.

Just very sad for this family and hoping the feel the full embrace of their church and extended family at this time, which no doubt they will.

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    9 Comments

    1. Heather

      Sad

      They are also reporting that a 16- year- old boy died in a manure spreader accident on this farm only six months ago. Some of my Amish friends said it was another son in this family. My heart breaks for the wife and children left behind. So sad.

    2. Joseph Frey

      Heartbreaking for this family

      The family suffered the death of another son earlier this year due to an accident with manure spreader. Prayers to the family and Amish community.

    3. Judy Pasqualone

      Tragic nightmare

      I don’t understand how they could not know the dangers as these silos are commonly used. This is so horrible and my heart breaks for mother and wife of these people. There are probably other siblings though someone said another child died recently. I pray others will take heed of this and prevent future deaths. Even wear some kind of protective masks if that’s possible.

    4. M D

      Silo deaths . . .

      Hi Erik,

      Do you have an address for the widow and family whose husband
      and children died in the silo accident? I’d love to send a condolence
      card and maybe a nice check. Thanks for your help.

      M.D.

      1. Joseph Frey

        Family Address

        Beiler Family
        2926 Lower Brush Valley Rd
        Centre Hall, PA 16828

    5. Lowell Shaw

      Condolence address request

      Is there an address to send a condolence to?

      1. Joseph Frey

        Family Adderss

        Beiler Family
        2926 Lower Brush Valley Rd
        Centre Hall, PA 16828

    6. Mike Brouillette

      know a little about this from some farming days in Vt. The one I dealt with had a system to “vacuum” the corn product out but it would break down sometimes. Jumping into the silo was not something you think twice about at feeding time.

    7. Go Fund Me set up for the Beiler Family

      The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau (HVAB) and the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County (CBICC), on behalf of the Happy Valley Agventures initiative, have established a Go Fund me campaign for a local Amish family… Link to the GoFundMe…. https://www.gofundme.com/f/for-the-beiler-family