Stunned: Workers watch Belgrade grain elevator fire in front of their work

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Posted at 8:58 AM, Feb 05, 2022

“It was a really scary moment,” says Barbara Axtell, an employee at Rocky Mountain Supply.

Smoke billowed above Belgrade Friday morning, leaving morning commuters all over the Gallatin Valley wondering what was burning. Crews from across Gallatin County responded around 7 a.m. to a massive fire at a grain elevator in downtown Belgrade. Crews battled the fire as the sun rose and frigid temperatures made the fight more difficult  

Around 20 minutes after crews responded to the fire, the grain leg of the elevator collapsed, leading fire crews to fight the fire from above.

“Our crews have been very cautious throughout the scene,” said Central Valley Fire Interim Fire Marshal Jake Zlomie.

Folks at Rocky Mountain Supply just across the parking lot said they were getting ready to start their day when they began to smell something odd.

“I went into the breakroom to make coffee and I smelled a really hot smell, so I called my coworker ‘Can you smell what I'm smelling?’” says Barbara Axtell, an employee at Rocky Mountain Supply.

That's when Axtel says she and a coworker went outside to see what was going on.

“[We] walked out the front door and he said ‘Barb call 9-1-1!’,”says Axtell.

Throughout the afternoon crews worked to put out spot fires. Zlomie told MTN news that they are in contact with the owners of the grain elevator, Colombia Grain in Oregon, to discuss the next steps, which could include demolishing the middle section of the elevator.

Right now the cause of the fire is still under investigation.