Nebraska Task Force 1 Assists In Recovery Effort After Omaha Plant Explosion

OMAHA(KPTM)-Workers didn't know what to expect when that building started falling on top of them. And neither did the rescue workers when they got there. But it's a call Nebraska Task Force One was ready to handle.

Brad Thavenet, task force leader for Nebraska Task Force 1, a specially trained task force was on the scene Monday to assist in the rescue and recovery expert after an Omaha animal feed plant collapsed due to an industrial accident on Monday morning.

"When you got in there everything you can picture inside an industrial manufacturing plant from forklifts to conveyor belts to metal shelving is twisted into one big mess," said Thavenet, describing what he saw when he entered International Nutrition after an explosion caused the upper floors of the building to collapse, trapping workers inside.

The specially trained task force faced an additional challenge by mother nature. "There were forty to fifty mile an hour wind gusts, and every time the wind would blow through that opening space that everybody was able to see from the news footage, some of those hanging concrete slabs started to dangle and hang in the breeze," said Thavenet.

Inclement weather and the challenge of working in darkness led the recovery effort to stretch into Tuesday. Nebraska Task Force 1 consulted with specially trained structural engineers to safely navigate the hazardous conditions, allowing the rescue squad and others assisting with the operation to finish their mission without injury.