June 8, 1996 in City
Woman Killed At Mill Was Hired To Help Dismantle Equipment
The woman killed here Tuesday while dismantling the Vaagen Bros. sawmill for shipment to China was employed by a Tri-Cities construction company.
Authorities said Colville resident Mavis Morris, 56, died at the scene after the wall of one of the buildings fell outward and struck her. She was working for E.P. Johnson Construction and Environmental Inc. of the Tri-Cities.
E.P. Johnson was hired to dismantle equipment at the mill and prepare it for shipping to China, but was not hired to dismantle the buildings, General Manager Mike Schaub said. He declined to comment further.
Vaagen Bros. said all of the equipment at the mill and all but one building - not the one that collapsed - were purchased by Global International PTE Ltd. of China.
Pend Oreille County Undersheriff Dick Arend said Morris was outside a two-sided building with no ends when it toppled sideways onto her. He said four workers inside the building were partially shielded by equipment and escaped serious injury.
Arend said witnesses speculated that wind may have contributed to the accident, but the cause isn’t known.
Rich Ervin, Eastern Washington compliance officer for the state Department of Labor and Industries, declined to comment on the investigation his agency is conducting, but said officials want to know exactly what the workers were doing.