Univ. of Minnesota student dies after 3-story fall from Bunge Tower

A young woman exploring the abandoned Bunge Tower grain elevator in the Como neighborhood of Minneapolis died from serious injuries following a nearly 3-story fall Saturday night. The woman was identified by the Hennepin County medical examiner as 20-year-old Emily Roland of Cottage Grove, Minn. Roland was a sophomore student at the University of Minnesota.

A Minneapolis Fire Department technical crew pulled the woman out of the grain elevator around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. This is the same grain elevator where another 20-year-old University of Minnesota student died after a 10-story fall in 2006.

What happened

There were 3 people exploring Saturday night when Roland somehow fell off a ladder on the 10th floor, broke through a wood floor and plummeted into a 30-foot steel bin, Minneapolis Fire Deputy Chief Todd White confirmed.

"They are very dangerous, and no matter what property owners or the city does to solidify the vacant building and close it up, there are ways in." White said. "There are holes in floors, windows can fall out, and there's no safe way they can completely secure this building."

A doctor from the Hennepin County Medical Center climbed down the elevator to secure her, and as rain poured outside complicating the rescue, it took nearly 2 hours to bring the woman down the 10-story building. Roland was taken to HCMC and officials said she died from serious injuries suffered in the fall.

Project for Pride in Living statement

"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."

Death in 2006

This isn't the first death in this grain elevator. In 2006, 20-year-old Germain Vigeant, a U of M student, died after a 10-story fall while climbing the tower with a friend without a flashlight.

Glenwood Avenue 50-foot fall

Last August, a man believed to be taking part in an urban exploration fell about 50 feet inside the Glenwood Avenue silo, also known as the old Fruen Mill in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood.


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