Deadly Phenix Lumber Accident Under Investigation
Inspector : More Than 100 Code Violations At Saw Mill Today
Evidence is still being collected at the scene in Phenix City and it’s too graphic to detail for our television viewers but we got an up close look at the lumber company, a repeat offender according to the government agency tasked with oversight.
Brandon Van Dyke was working on some type of mechanical issue inside the wood chipper when the accident occurred according to a statement by the Phenix City Police Department. A neighbor heard the alarm at the saw mill and tipped a supervisor to the gruesome discovery.
An official with first hand knowledge of the incident said Van Dyke should have never been inside the equipment but that he had likely done it hundreds of times. His death is the second in the last decade, the company was fined nearly two million dollars for “willfull” employee safety violations that also resulted in finger amputations according to public documents.
“It’s poor, it’s like an old plantation.” David Earl Lee an employee of four years , now a whistle blower said the violations are obvious giving a tour of the lumber yard where city inspectors also showed up.
“No safety net, no nothing. If anything falls, I have to run out of the way. This use to be the bathroom, that right there use to be the bathroom,” Lee said. According to City Inspector Gil Griffith they spotted over a hundred code violations this morning alone, the vast majority electrical in nature he said. The news was little comfort to employees.
“Everyday mistakes like that there, I don’t think it’s right, no I don’t,” he said.
Phenix City inspectors moved swiftly to have Alabama Power shut the power off to the saw mill until the company addresses all those violations. In a brief telephone call with John Dudley, owner of Phenix Lumber he told First News he was not aware of the details of the fatal accident Wednesday or those multiple alleged violations before abruptly ending the phone call.