MILLERVILLE, Minn. – There is a void in the rural community of Millerville after losing three of its members in a horrific farm accident days before Christmas.



    Brothers Steve and Curt Boesl and Curt’s 11-year-old son, Alex, succumbed to toxic silo gases Dec. 21, 2019, on Curt’s farm site near Millerville.
    “After 27 years, you think you can prepare yourself for anything, … but you can never understand the feeling of sitting on top of a silo catwalk doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation with someone that close (to you),” Rodney Roers said.
    Roers is the former Millerville Fire Department Chief and took part in the life-saving efforts following the accident. Roers knew the Boesls, having served on the department with them for more than 20 years.
    On the morning of the incident, Curt and Alex were working in the top of the silo when another one of Curt’s sons was outside the silo. The son below realized what was happening and called 911 and his uncle, Steve, according to a report from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
    “We got the call and you hear it’s on Gravel Pit Road, and you know there are only three people on that road,” Roers said. “You’re scared for everyone, but in your gut you know it has to be Curt and Julie’s place. … You pray you’re there on time. You pray you can save them.”
    Once the fire department and emergency crews arrived, Steve was pronounced dead at the scene having tried to rescue his brother and nephew. Roers attempted to resuscitate Curt before he was transported to the St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud. Curt died a day later, Dec. 22, 2019.  
    “We had to do what we could,” Roers said. “I was up there and so was my other captain. He started on little Alex. It was so emotional for the whole department.”
    Alex was flown to Children’s Minnesota, formerly Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, in Minneapolis. After nearly a week of fighting for his life, Alex passed away Dec. 27, 2019.  
    The Boesls leave behind family and a community in mourning.
    Steve married his high school sweetheart, Kim. Together, they have five children – Paige, Peyton, Dalton, Dylan and Avery.   
    Curt leaves behind his wife, Julie, and children Logan, Claire, Lance and Lily. Alex was the middle child amongst his four siblings.
    Steve and Curt dairy farmed with their brothers – Jeff, Scott and Brent – and father, Tim, in Douglas County.
    “I remember one night we got a call, and when we were done it was about 4 a.m. and Curt was running back to the barn to go milk,” Roers said. “They were a well-run operation, and they operated with love and care.”
    Curt was also the assistant fire chief at the time of his death. He had nearly 25 years in volunteering for the department under his belt. Likewise, Steve spent 22 years with the department before retiring a few years ago.
    “They were all such good guys,” Roers said. “They were so busy they didn’t have time to sleep, but they found time to volunteer.”
    While the entire community of Millerville was shook by the accident, they are remembering the three cherished lives.
    Curt, Steve and Alex will be remembered for their genuine characters.
    “They will be remembered the same way they’ve always been thought of: hard working, down to earth, dependable, good fathers, so many things they’ve done right in their lives,” Roers said. “Their parents, Tim and Phyllis, have so much to be proud of … their entire family.”
    An excerpt of Alex’s obituary read, “Alex was so genuine. He had a heart of gold. He had a way of knowing when someone was feeling down. He was a giver just like his father. In his final act of kindness, he gave the gift of life to others.”
    Knowing the impact this family had on the community and will continue to have has helped Roers and others through this time of sorrow.
    “After the funeral I texted everyone on the department. We have to keep our heads high,” Roers said. “Because of them, the family had hope. Because of them, little Alex spent one more Christmas with his family. Also, because of their actions, Alex was able to donate his organs to other kids in saving their lives.”
    Since the accident, the community of Millerville has found ways to grieve and support the Boesl families. Prayers have been abundant and many have gone to the dairy to help with chores.
    “It’s been a huge loss in the community, but people are united and there’s a solidarity in farming,” Roers said. “We’re continuing to pray for the families and we’re here when they’re ready to ask for help.”
    This has been a stark reminder in the agriculture community to be cautious of the dangers of silos. The Boesls recently filled the structure with high moisture corn, and the family knew the dangers fermentation posed to their health.
    “We really don’t know what caused this tragic chain of events; we may never know. Curt was a smart farmer,” said Roers, who has found comfort in the priest’s message at the funeral. “He told us God did not put them up on top of that silo, but God was there to receive them when it was their time. That gives a person a lot of hope.”