The woman who climbed inside a vacant grain elevator in Minneapolis and fell to her death was identified Monday afternoon as a 20-year-old University of Minnesota student.
Emily M. Roland, originally from Cottage Grove, fell Saturday night in the Bunge grain elevator just north of campus along railroad tracks in the Como neighborhood, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office, which classified the death from multiple injuries as accidental.
Roland enrolled at the U in the fall of 2013, a school spokesman said. The liberal arts student was a sophomore.
Roland slipped from a 10th-floor ladder and landed 30 feet below in an empty metal grain bin. Roland is the second person, both University of Minnesota students, to have fatally fallen in the elevator since 2006.
Two people were with Roland at the time. One of them, Michael Bedor, 20, of Richfield, has an Instagram account with numerous photos of his urban exploring adventures. “He’s very upset by the whole thing,” his mother, Susan, said Monday.
“Yes, we knew it was a horrible idea, but she was always set in her ways about adventures,” Michael wrote about Emily in a Facebook comment. “No do not enter signs were present on the building nor any of the areas we had walked by to get in there. If there were, they were taken down or spray painted over. She was a great friend and she will surely be missed by every life she touched.”
Emergency responders needed nearly two hours to remove her from the bin. In the meantime, a “tech rescue” doctor from Hennepin County Medical Center was lowered inside to “administer care during the extrication,” fire department officials said. A fire official said Roland went into cardiac arrest once she was out of the elevator and died at HCMC.
Located along 13th Avenue SE. and now owned by the nonprofit Project for Pride in Living Inc. (PPL), which envisions developing the site as housing, the elevator was abandoned in 2003 and since has been a favorite of late-night thrill seekers in pursuit of a high perch for viewing the city.
Paul Williams, president and CEO of PPL, said the building had six signs up six months ago and several of them had been torn down.
“We’re putting more up,” he said. “It’s a constant battle in terms of signage, putting things up and repairing the fence. We’re being diligent about it.”
PPL has an off-duty police officer and security personnel who rotate and patrol the area three to five times a week, Williams said.
PPL plans to work with city, neighborhood and University officials to ensure the site stays secured.
In January 2006, 20-year-old University of Minnesota student Germain Vigeant fell 10 stories to her death in the grain elevator, which tops off at more than 200 feet.
In October of the same year, Ron Block, 32, of Burnsville, fell to his death when a concrete beam gave way at the former Con-Agra elevator in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Shannon Balstad, a 20-year-old University of Minnesota student and Roland’s friend, said Roland’s friends have been reaching out and supporting each other to get through this difficult time.
“She was selfless, and beautiful inside and out,” Balstad said. “ She had a wonderful relationship with her family.”