An accident while cleaning a peeling machine left a 68-year-old Escalon Premier Brands worker with major injuries, the man losing both his arms in the industrial accident on Thursday afternoon, July 2.
The plant, in the 1900 block of South McHenry, was the scene of a rescue operation, as fire and emergency officials were called to the location about 12:15 p.m. Thursday.
“He was working in what was called peeling machinery during a clean-up operation and ended up losing both arms, at least preliminarily, from the elbow down,” explained Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District Chief Rick Mello. “It wasn’t known if they would be able to save the limbs.”
Escalon Fire Battalion Chief Terry Pinheiro said officials were unsure what prompted the machine to turn on; that likely will be part of an ongoing investigation. He said the worker was pulled in to the machine by his arms, losing them both.
Mello added that the accident occurred while the worker was outside, on an open platform/tower structure, roughly 50 feet up. Rescuers had to access the outside staircase and utilize the Jaws of Life to free the man from the machinery.
Originally, a helicopter was requested but Mello said the man instead was taken by ground ambulance.
“He was transported, Code 3 (lights and sirens) to Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto by Escalon Community Ambulance,” Mello said.
Farmington personnel responded to cover the Escalon fire station while the rescue was under way.
Mello said the man was described as a 20-year employee of the plant. Rescue crews cleared the scene about 1 p.m., the operation taking about 45 minutes.
“All notifications to Cal OSHA were made,” added Mello. “They will conduct their own investigation.”
The man’s name was not released but it was reported that he is a Riverbank resident.
He was last listed in stable condition but still in intensive care as of Tuesday morning, said officials.
Mello said plant personnel worked cooperatively with rescuers to insure the scene was secure and assisted in carrying the man down from the platform to the waiting ambulance.