Father, son killed in silage collapse near Barron, Wis.

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Dan and David Briel

A routine task took a turn for the worse when the grain inside a silo collapsed on a father and his two sons on a rural dairy farm in Hillsdale, Wisconsin. Only one of them made it out alive.

Melissa Briel was out of town Saturday evening when she received the call notifying her that silage had collapsed on top of her husband, Dan, and teenage sons, Caleb and David. 

“This time of the year silage gets caught up on the side and you have to get it off when it warms, but it just so happened to be too big of a chunk,” Briel said. 

Caleb escaped, but Dan, 51, and David, 14, were trapped and buried in up to eight feet of silage. Using thermal imaging devices and extraction equipment, it took the fire department 45 minutes to pull the father and son from the silo. 

Dan was dead when the firefighters pulled him out. David died soon thereafter. 

“I have peace knowing that he was praying with our son,” Briel said. “I have peace knowing that he was holding onto our son.” 

“In the farming world these accidents do happen…but they usually don’t lead to death,” said Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald. “This one was just a tragic accident.” 

Briel described her husband, whom she was married to for over 25 years, as her rock. 

“His smile was contagious and he had a heart that was huge,” she said. 

When speaking about her son, she said he was pure joy. 

In this time of great loss and immense grief, Briel has turned to her faith to carry her through. 

“God is good even through hard times,” she said. “I want people to take away that God is there and if you keep your faith in him he’s going to see you through.” 

The community set up a GoFundMe page for the family to help pay for funeral expenses.