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Woman dies after falling inside abandoned grain elevator

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A woman died after falling 30 feet while exploring an abandoned grain elevator in Minneapolis Saturday night, the Minneapolis Fire Department says.

She was in the Bunge grain elevator with a group of friends when she slipped off a ladder on the 10th floor and fell 30 feet into a steel grain bin below, WCCO reports.

The incident happened around 10:30 p.m., KSTP says, and it took crews about an hour and a half to rescue the woman from the building, FOX 9 reports.

A doctor was lowered into the grain bin to "administer care during the extrication," the fire department told the Star Tribune.

Despite efforts, the woman, who hasn't been identified, died from injuries suffered in the fall.

The 206-foot-tall grain elevator, located at 937 13th Ave. SE, was built in 1936 and has become a visual landmark in the Como neighborhood. It was abandoned in 2003, the City of Minneapolis says, and in the years since there have been plans to turn the tower into a residential development and an indoor climbing gym, the Minnesota Daily reported.

The vacant tower has become a popular place for urban explorers in recent years, Bridgeland News reported.

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But trespassing to explore these abandoned towers throughout the city can be dangerous. In 2006, Germain Vigeanta, a University of Minnesota student, was exploring the Bunge grain elevator when she fell 100 feet and died.

"We'd like all people to stay away from these properties," Deputy Chief Todd White of the Minneapolis Fire Department told WCCO.

"No matter what the property owners or the city does to solidify the vacant building and close it up, there’s ways people go in. It’s very dangerous. There’s holes in floor, windows can fall out and there’s no safe way to completely secure this building," White added.

A Minneapolis nonprofit, Project for Pride in Living, owns the Bunge site and has been hoping to redevelop it into affordable housing. The organization released a statement Sunday night, according to KSTP.

We at PPL are saddened to learn of the tragic accident at the Bunge site in Minneapolis yesterday. Keeping our properties safe for the community is a top priority at PPL. We’ve worked diligently to secure this undeveloped site over the years. PPL secured the site again after last night's tragedy and will continue to work closely with safety officials from the City of Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, as well as neighborhood leadership to ensure that the site stays secured. In addition, we will continue to work with the City of Minneapolis on the next phase of the site, whether redevelopment or demolition.

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