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Man Killed In Wood Plant Accident Worker Became Entangled In Conveyor System

Sat., June 7, 1997

A 49-year-old Post Falls man was killed Friday after becoming lodged inside a waste-wood conveyor system at the Idaho Veneer Co.

Medical officials said workers at the sprawling Post Falls wood products plant, at 704 E. Fourth Ave., stopped machinery immediately after discovering the accident about 12:20 p.m.

Emergency personnel freed the man from the conveyor belt, but their resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.

The victim’s name has not been released.

“People there were just shell-shocked,” said Kootenai County coroner Dr. Robert West, who arrived just after the medical team. “It was one of those nightmares.”

The accident happened inside a green warehouse-like building located just behind the company’s administration office. The conveyor system is used to pick up remaining wood scraps after logs are cut into thin strips.

Police and medical officials investigating the accident entered the building from a door on its northeast side, which was set against a backdrop of rising steam from neighboring woodpiles.

The ambulance was sent away almost immediately.

West said relatives already have been notified, but that the cause of the man’s death won’t be determined until an autopsy is performed Monday.

Police Detective Dave Beck said details wouldn’t be available before Monday about the accident, which occurred at one of Post Falls’ biggest employers.

In fact, Idaho Veneer donated a building to the city’s police department in 1995 when space became too cramped in the police’s old brick building at 101 E. Fourth Ave.

The donated building now houses Post Falls detectives, school resource and D.A.R.E. officers, the domestic violence program, and the Post Falls prosecutor.

Officials from the company, including owner Dan Malloy and office manager John Martinek, also declined to comment on the accident.

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