A concrete roof partially collapsed July 7 at a sauerkraut factory in Fremont in northern Ohio, killing one worker and injuring three, authorities said.
The roof collapsed as workers for B&W Welding were replacing support columns inside the small building at the Fremont Co., Police Chief Tim Wiersma said. Crews were still trying to remove the body of the man who died.
Wiersma says 35-year-old B&W Welding employee Nate Kern was crushed and pronounced dead at the scene. Kern’s body was trapped by debris and not recovered until late in the day.
Todd Michael, 44, was trapped in the rubble with his legs pinned for about four hours before he was rescued. Wiersma said he didn’t know the extent of Michael’s injuries but that it appears he will survive.
While he was trapped, Michael told rescuers how to move the concrete and deal with the ruble, Wiersma said.
“He was trying to save himself,” he said. Michael was taken by helicopter to a hospital.
A third B&W worker also was taken to a hospital, and one Fremont Co. worker was taken to a hospital for treatment and was released, authorities said.
No one else was in the building at the time of the collapse, which was in a roughly 40-by-50-foot one-room building.
One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion amid temperatures that climbed into the mid-90s.
The cause of the collapse remains under investigation, but Fremont Mayor Terry Overmyer says there were no known problems with the roof. He says the roof collapse in the community 40 miles southeast of Toledo was probably a “freak thing.”
Rescuers used a crane to lift up the collapsed roof.
The Fremont Co. is about 40 miles southeast of Toledo in an industrial area with several buildings. It began in 1905 as a sauerkraut manufacturer and later expanded to make tomato-based products, including ketchup. It also sells and distributes a line of barbecue sauce, according to the company’s Web site.
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