Worker dies in ‘tragic event’ at Woodburn BFGoodrich plant

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WOODBURN, Ind. (WANE) — An employee at the BFGoodrich Tires facility in Woodburn was killed Tuesday morning.

Police and medics were called just after 3 a.m. to the plant, located off Old U.S. 24 just west of Woodburn, on a report of an industrial accident. Capt. Steve Stone with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department said a man was found dead at the scene.

The Allen County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 48-year-old Sean Redden of Fort Wayne. An autopsy found Redden died of “multiple crush injuries” do to an industrial press accident and his death was ruled accidental.

The BFGoodrich plant in Woodburn is shown Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.

Michelin North America spokesman Eric Bruner said in a statement that Redden died during as a “maintenance procedure.”

“We are in the beginning phase of an investigation of the factors that led to this tragic event, but our primary focus at this time is on the employee’s family and other people at the who work at the site,” Bruner said. “On the company’s behalf, we offer our deepest sympathies to the family during this time of grief.”

Stone said no one else was hurt in the incident. He called it an “unfortunate accident.”

Bruner said Allen County Sheriff’s deputies and other emergency crews responded to the incident and federal authorities were notified. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the incident, Stone said.

Redden’s family is devastated and in disbelief. His daughter Laura Redden shared her grief.

“Well my mom came over to give me the news and she had me sit down and she told me that my dad was killed in a workplace accident and I didn’t really know how to take it,” she said. “I just immediately started crying. My dad was a really hard worker and he was always the life of the party. He always knew how to make everybody laugh. He will be really missed by people who love him.”

WANE 15 talked with spokesperson Stephanie McFarland of the Indiana Department of Labor Tuesday. IDL oversees the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration. McFarland said the BFGoodrich fatality incident was reported to them as required under law within eight hours.

There will be an IOSHA safety compliance inspector at the plant within 24 hours of the report. They will look to determine if the plant is operating in accordance to IOSHA standards and if they’re breaking any safety violations.

After the 30 to 90 day inspection, a safety order will be issued to the plant.

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