AUBURNDALE, FL — A 33-year-old employee at Florida Caribbean Distillers in Auburndale was electrocuted Wednesday while working on a conveyor belt motor, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office reported.
Aaron Rowe, of Kissimmee, died at Winter Haven Hospital at 6:15 p.m.
The Medical Examiner’s Office plans to conduct an autopsy today.
Preliminary reports show that Rowe was working about 5 p.m. at the company at 425 Recker Highway to supply power to a conveyor belt that was down. He appeared to turn off power to the line he was working, then spliced the wires to make the proper connection to the motor, the Sheriff’s Office reported.
But the wire was live, and it appears that the lock-out system used to shut off power was affixed to the wrong circuit breaker. Rowe had shut off power to a separate wire not in use, the Sherrif’s Office reported.
The distillery is the maker of a line of rums, whiskeys and fruit cordials. It was established in 1943 and bills itself as Florida’s oldest distillery.
Rowe suffered burns to his hands, according to the report.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the death.
FCD is an innovative drinks company with an expertise in rum and an outstanding collection of brands that meet the consumption needs of today’s beverage alcohol consumer.
Florida Distillers is the premier producer of Florida Rum. We currently produce this product at 188 proof and resell it to a variety of bottlers throughout the World. We produce citrus neutral spirits, citrus brandy, cane neutral spirits, and rum at our facility. We also produce and sell a product called ‘other than standard orange wine’ (OTSOW) to every major bottler in the United States and throughout the World that is used as an ingredient in liqueurs and cordials.============
Auburndale, Florida – On Wednesday, June 21, 2017 the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to 425 Recker Highway, Auburndale, for a cardiac arrest call for service. The location is the Florida Caribbean Distillers. Units with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Polk County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and observed Aaron Rowe, 33 years old of Kissimmee, lying on the ground unresponsive. Life saving measures were performed and Aaron was transported to the Winter Haven Hospital.
Aaron was pronounced deceased at the Winter Haven Hospital at 6:16.
During the investigation it was learned the location contains numerous conveyor belts and machinery within the facility. The decedent, who was an employee of the business, was working on supplying power to a conveyor belt motor, making that particular conveyor operational again. The decedent used a lock out system to power off the line which he was working with. While working on supplying power to the motor, the decedent spliced the power wires to make the proper connections to the motor. The power wire was live at this time and the decedent appears to have been electrocuted. During the investigation it was determined the lock out system was affixed to the wrong circuit breaker. This shut off power to a wire other than the one which the decedent was physically working with.
OSHA was notified and will be conducting an independent investigation in reference to this case.
The decedent had burn marks located on both hands. The decedent was transported to the 10th District Medical Examiner’s Office. An autopsy is tentatively scheduled for June 22, 2017.