Monday, February 22, 2010

Weekly Toll: Death in the American Workplace

La Grange man dies in work accident

February 26, Chicago, Illinois - The Cook County medical examiner's office has ruled that "compressional asphyxiation" caused the death of a La Grange man at a building-materials supplier in Blue Island this week. Brian Fuller Sr., 48, was fatally injured at George J. Roll & Sons on the 2200 block of Vermont Street. Fuller, a 15-year employee, oversaw loading lumber and drywall onto delivery trucks.

Sheriff's deputy killed in shootout near Fresno

February 26, Minkler, California - A Fresno County sheriff's deputy was fatally shot and two other officers were wounded Thursday in an all-day confrontation with a barricaded arson suspect in the tiny unincorporated community of Minkler, 20 miles east of Fresno. "This morning, I had to deliver the message that no law enforcement leader wants to deliver, and that was to the wife of a deputy sheriff, that her husband had been killed in the line of duty," Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said at a news conference.

Van Wert man dies in industrial accident

February 21, Jefferson Township, - A 58-year-old Van Wert resident died in an industrial accident at Celina Aluminum Precision Technology on Sunday, Feb. 21. Mark A. Fennig, of 321 Race St., Van Wert, a maintenance technician, was apparently working on a water passage machine at the plant at 7059 Staeger Road when the accident occurred. Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey received a 911 call at about 1:38 p.m. Sunday. An initial investigation showed that Fennig somehow became tangled in the water passage machine. His hard hat had been knocked off and he had visible head trauma, Grey said.

City employee dies on the job

February 25, Leeds, Alabama — A long-time Leeds city worker and friend to many passed away Tuesday while on the job that friends said he loved. Leroy Alexander, 70, collapsed while working at the end of Peach Street on Tuesday morning. Mayor Eric Patterson said Alexander had been an integral part of the city for the past 26 years. “He told many people that he loved working for the city,” Patterson said. “He always told us he might retire next year, but came back everyday ready to work. He was very dedicated and a very good worker. He will be missed greatly as a person and an employee.”

Whale Trainer Killed at SeaWorld Orlando

February 24, Orlando, Florida - A killer whale attacked and killed a trainer in front of a horrified audience Wednesday at a SeaWorld show, with at least one witness saying the animal leaped from the water, dragged her under and thrashed her around violently. Distraught audience members were hustled out of the stadium, and the park was immediately closed. The 40-year-old veteran trainer was one of the park’s most experienced. It was not clear exactly how she died. An audience member said a show was just starting when the whale “took off really fast in the tank, and then he came back, shot up in the air, grabbed the trainer by the waist and started thrashing around, and one of her shoes flew off,” Victoria Biniak told WKMG-TV.

Trash Hauler's Last Words: "My Kids, My Kids"

February 25, Hartford, Connecticut - Eric Hassan was working as part of a three-man crew, picking up garbage in Wolcott on Wednesday morning when a routine day at work turned tragic. The truck from Gaudiosi Hauling had reached the end of Midwood Avenue just before 7 a.m. Hassan was standing behind the truck, directing the driver to turn it around when something went wrong and he was wedged against a retaining wall, police told the Waterbury Republican-American. The Waterbury man was rushed to St. Mary's Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

CPD mourns sergeant killed responding to call

February 23, Chicago, Illinois - Police Superintendent Jody Weis is considering filing murder charges in connection to a crash that killed a veteran officer. Sergeant Alan Haymaker was killed early Monday morning when the squad car he was driving crashed into a tree on Lake Shore Drive near Irving Park. He was responding to a burglary call at the time. Under Illinois law, murder charges can be filed against the suspects in the burglary. And while Superintendent Weis wants to hold those suspects- who have not been caught- accountable, the decision would be up to the state's attorney.

Man dies in work accident in Blue Island

February 23, Chicago, Illinois - A man died in an accident while at work Monday in south suburban Blue Island. Brian Fuller Sr., 48, of La Grange, was pronounced dead at 1:03 a.m. at MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Fuller died at 2258 Vermont St. in Blue Island. George J. Roll & Sons, a building material supplier company, is located at that address, according to an online directory. No one was immediately available from the company.

Two Oklahoma construction workers buried alive

February 23, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — Two construction workers were killed on Tuesday, February 16, 2010 after a trench that they were working in collapsed on top of them. The fatal workplace accident occurred around 2:45 p.m., at the intersection of U.S. Highway 62 and Oklahoma 102 just north of the Kickapoo Casino, as reported by KOCO. Jacktown Fire officials reported that the men were in the process of digging a hole for a septic tank when the trench suddenly collapsed and buried them. Heavy equipment to recover the buried men wasn’t immediately available to rescue the workers; unstable soil was also an issue for recovery teams. Justin Johnson, 32, and Keith Haddox, 44, were tragically killed in the accident. Their bodies were finally recovered by 10:30 p.m., Tuesday night. It is unknown what caused the hole to cave in on the men.

Anamosa Man Dies at Cedar Rapids Construction Site

February 22, Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Details are sketchy in the death of a man at a southwest Cedar Rapids construction site. Faron Fritz, 30, of Anamosa, died at St. Luke’s Hospital of injuries suffered Monday morning, his brother-in-law Mark Baumler said. The Cedar Rapids Fire Department and Area Ambulance responded to 3141 Williams Parkway SW at 9:27 a.m. on a report of a steel beam or heavy metal pipe that had fallen on a worker, fire department spokesman Greg Buelow said. No other details were released. Baumler said Fritz worked for a contractor at the site, but he declined to name the employer.

Landfill worker dies from injuries

February 23, Shelby, Ohio — A worker at the Cleveland County Landfill has died after being injured on the job Monday. “We’ve been shaken and we’ve been saddened; I mean, he was one of our boys," said Sam Lockridge, coordinator of health services for Cleveland County. Travis Bryan Kidd, 24, of Mooresboro, died Monday afternoon on the way to the hospital after a 40-ton rolling compactor crushed his legs and pelvis.

Worker killed at welding company

February 23, Wilmington, North Carolina - At 10:35 a.m. New Hanover County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with Fire & EMS responded to Watson Portable Welding, located at 5679 Carolina Beach Road regarding a fatal workplace accident. The victim, 28-year old Walter Noel Argueta Banegas of Wilmington, was operating a fork lift at the time of the incident. Employees immediately responded and contacted emergency services upon locating the victim. Mr. Banegas was pronounced dead upon assessment by EMS personnel. Although Detectives do not suspect foul play, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is leading the investigation. An autopsy has been scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

Landfill employee dies after compactor incident

February 23, Shelby, North Carolina - The Star has learned from multiple sources that the landfill employee injured yesterday by a trash compactor died in Charlotte as a result of his injuries. Check back for more information as we learn of it.

Van Wert man dies in industrial accident

February 23, Jefferson Township, Ohio — A 58-year-old Van Wert resident died in an industrial accident at Celina Aluminum Precision Technology on Sunday, Feb. 21. Mark A. Fennig, of 321 Race St., Van Wert, a maintenance technician, was apparently working on a water passage machine at the plant at 7059 Staeger Road when the accident occurred. Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey received a 911 call at about 1:38 p.m. Sunday. An initial investigation showed that Fennig somehow became tangled in the water passage machine. His hard hat had been knocked off and he had visible head trauma, Grey said.

Chicago Police Officer Dies In Crash On Lake Shore Drive

February 22, Chicago, Illinois - A Chicago police sergeant answering a call about a burglary died this morning when his squad car hit a tree in the median along southbound Lake Shore Drive near Irving Park Road, sources say. The 56-year-old officer was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 7:33 a.m., according to the medical examiner's office. He had been assigned to the Town Hall District and had been on the force for 21 years, police said.

Portland police officer dies in traffic accident

February 22, Portland, Oregon - The Portland Police Bureau says one of its officers has died in a traffic accident in Vancouver, Wash. The bureau says 35-year-old Adam Cushman, of Vancouver, was killed Sunday night when the car he was driving hit a dump truck. The Clark County sheriff's office says the truck had stalled on a street and the driver had turned off its lights to restart it. Deputies say Cushman's car ran into the rear of the truck and that he died at the scene.

Menino condemns killing of Uphams Corner store clerk

February 22, Boston, Massachusetts - Mayor Thomas M. Menino today condemned the "callous" and "unconscionably wrong" killing of a 71-year-old store clerk during a robbery in Uphams Corner and vowed to help small shop owners to increase security. "Yesterday was a terrible day," Menino said this afternoon as he offered condolences to the family of Gerardo Serrano, who was shot and killed during a robbery at the Hermanos Unidos grocery store on Dudley Street. "This is over a [small] robbery. To take a person's life over" a small amount of money.

Industrial Incident Claims Worker's Life

February 22, Celina, Ohio - A Van Wert man was killed in an apparent accident while on the job. Police say 58-year-old Mark Fennig died after he somehow got tangled while working on a water passage machine at Celina Aluminum Precision Technology in Celina Sunday afternoon. Authorities aren't sure yet what led to the incident as they continue to investigate.

Worker Dead After Hit By Giant Ice Chunk

February 20, Follansbee, West Virginia - A worker at the Follansbee Coke Plant is dead after an accident Saturday around 3 p.m. The plant where the man was killed is owned by Mountain State Carbon, a division of Severstal North America, Inc. According to Severstal spokeswoman Bette Kovach, Frederic Wizba, 54, of Wheeling was a long-time employee who worked as a raw material supervisor. He was declared dead at the scene and transported to Weirton Medical Center.

Man Killed by Fumes in Minn. Hog Barn

February 19, Eyota, Minnesota -An accidental death at an Eyota-area hog farm will be investigated by the Minnesota office of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Twenty-nine-year-old Carlos Ramirez-Perez was found unconscious in a barn's workroom area Wednesday. Authorities said they have "strong reason" to believe Ramirez-Perez had been overcome by fumes. The incident occurred on the Schoenfelder Farms at 11279 55th St. S.E. in Eyota Township. "Minnesota OSHA will review this facility," said agency spokesman James Honerman. The agency will investigate to determine causes and whether existing OSHA standards were violated. The agency rarely investigates incidents at family farms, Honerman said.

Funeral for Florence Police Officer will be held Monday

February 20, Florence, South Carolina -A Florence County man was in court Sunday for a bond hearing on charges of voluntary manslaughter after investigators say he shot and killed a Florence Police officer. Brady Johnson, 22, of Effingham, is accused of killing Matthew H. Clayton Friday night in a Florence home. In court Sunday, a judge set Johnson's bond at $30,000. He was released on bail at 10:18 a.m. Monday. Capt. Michael Nunn of the Florence County Sheriff's Office says Clayton, 29, died Friday evening in his home on Cross Vines Road in Florence. According to investigators, the firearm discharged while Johnson was pointing it at Clayton's back, resulting in his death.

Gov't worker believed dead after crash

February 19, Austin, Texas - Authorities have found two bodies in the wreckage of the Northwest Austin building that was hit by a plane, but they are waiting for forensic reports before identifying them publicly. One is thought to be the pilot -- Joseph Stack. The other is believed to be a government employee who remains unaccounted. Vernon Hunter, 67, of Cedar Park, worked in the Echelon building as an IRS criminal investigation agent. He is presumed dead.

Worker Dies From Injuries In Feb 7 Connecticut Power Plant Blast

February 19, Middletown, Connecticut - A worker died Friday from injuries sustained during an explosion at a power plant under construction in Connecticut earlier this month, raising the death toll to six, local police said.Kenneth Haskell, 37, of New Durham, N.H., died at Hartford Hospital. He was a superintendent for a contractor at the Kleen Energy Systems LLC plant when the explosion occurred on Feb. 7, Middletown, Conn., police said in a statement. Following the explosion, police said five people were killed and 12 injured while working at the natural-gas power plant. The blast could be heard and felt miles from the construction site.

Factory worker killed in Wilson plant

February 19, Wilson, North Carolina - Authorities are investigating the death of a Peninsula Packaging worker. Emergency crews responded to a call about an industrial accident around 2:20 p.m. Thursday at the Wilson plant on Wilco Blvd. Upon their arrival, emergency workers found an employee stuck in a production machine. The employee died at the scene. Peninsula Packaging authorities, Wilson Police Department, the North Carolina Industrial Commission and OSHA are working together to investigate the incident.

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