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Construction Company Fined For Building Collapse In Ione

A Tri-Cities construction company has been fined $1,200 for a safety violation that caused a worker’s death when a building collapsed June 4 at the abandoned Vaagen Bros. sawmill in Ione, Wash.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries cited E.P. Johnson Construction and Environmental Inc. for failing to reinforce the building while removing equipment attached to the walls.

Workers removed elevated platforms that anchored the walls to machinery. The open-ended building had no other bracing, state officials said.

E.P. Johnson worker Mavis Morris, 56, of Colville died when high winds caused one of the walls to fall on her.

Labor and Industries spokesman Bill Ripple said employers must ensure structures are “capable of supporting four times the maximum strain to be imposed.”

Thomas Sunday, an E.P. Johnson vice president, said the company hasn’t decided whether to appeal the citation. He declined to comment further.

The company was hired to remove equipment from the mill and ship it to China.

Global International PTE Ltd. of China purchased the mill equipment and most of its buildings. Colvillebased Vaagen Bros., which closed the mill last summer, still owns the land.

, DataTimes