Farm family grateful for harvest help after son burned in Crystal City elevator blaze

A farmer whose son was badly burned in a grain elevator fire says he's overwhelmed by the response of his neighbours who came out in force to help him bring in his wheat harvest.

Neighbours bring combines, trucks to harvest hundreds of hectares

Brodie Richardson, 31, was badly burned in a grain elevator fire in Crystal City, Man. on Monday. (Brodie Richardson/Facebook)

A farmer whose son was badly burned in a grain elevator fire says he's overwhelmed by the response of his neighbours who came out in force to help him bring in his wheat harvest.

Murray Richardson's son, Brodie Richardson, 31, was working at the grain elevator in Crystal City on Monday when it caught fire. He suffered second-degree burns over the upper half of his body, and is recovering at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg.

"The spirits are pretty good and they've got him sitting up, too, and he's talking a little bit, but they've got to get the protein content up in his body so he can heal," Richardson said in an interview with CBC Manitoba's Radio Noon show.

The day after the fire, offers of help came pouring in from neighbours of the family's farm near Douglas.

Despite the pressure of taking care of his son, Richardson insisted that his family could still bring in the harvest, but his neighbours weren't having it.

On Wednesday afternoon, nine combines and several trucks arrived and over the course of four hours, they harvested 162 hectares. Two combines stayed into the evening, harvesting another 48 hectares.

"It saved us about five days of combining with one combine," Richardson said.

The sight of all those machines in his fields was "mind-boggling," he says.

"We're so independent — just do things ourselves — but when neighbours do come together to help us, we'd do the same thing, too.

"I just want to thank all the people that came, and all the people that offered trucks and combines, too."

After the harvest, Richardson and his neighbours sat down for a feast provided by a local co-op.

The Crystal City grain elevator caught fire at about 6 p.m. on Monday. (Submitted/Kaylene Pryor)

His son doesn't remember much of what happened during the fire, Richardson says.

"They were unloading grain, there was a big bang, and that's it," he said.

Richardson expects his son will be in hospital for about three weeks before he's well enough to transfer to another hospital.

He still has a bit of harvesting to do, but he says the help he's received made the workload significantly lighter.

"It took the pressure, the edge off, the stress right off you, not worrying about other things, so you can just focus more on a speedy recovery for our son."

The cause of the inferno that gutted the decades-old elevator is still under investigation.