IP suffers death

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

A construction worker who was found unresponsive Wednesday morning at International Paper Company’s Riverdale Mill was pronounced dead at the hospital.

While the incident is under investigation, Dallas County Sheriff’s investigators believe

Email newsletter signup

John G. Blue, 28, lost consciousness while elevated on scaffolding. Sheriff Harris Huffman said representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be in town today to investigate.

Blue was employed by Petty Line Construction Co. and worked in the No. 2 Bleach Plant. Blue was pronounced dead by Dallas County coroner Alan Dailey after he was transported to Vaughan Regional Medical Center, authorities said.

“He was up on some scaffolding. He had his safety harness on, and one of his co-workers got down to go get some tools,” Huffman said. “When he returned the guy was just sitting there, unconscious.”

IP health services personnel, mill emergency response team members and Emergystat ambulance service personnel responded to the scene, according to a statement from Pam Frasier, IP spokesperson.

Blue was transported to Montgomery where the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences will perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The incident is under investigation by Petty Line Construction, which notified the appropriate agencies. Officials at IP said their company will cooperate fully.

“We are saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the deceased contractor’s family, friends and those he worked with here at the mill,” said Ray Thomas, mill manager.