KALAMAZOO, MI -- A 45-year-old Kalamazoo man died Tuesday afternoon when the tire of a large front end loader he was using apparently exploded outside an industrial plant in Kalamazoo's Edison Neighborhood.
The mishap occurred at about 2:25 p.m. on Aug. 1, among huge piles of wooden pallets outside the Kalamazoo Pallet Co., at 2215 Palmer Ave.
Kalamazoo Public Safety officers did not immediately release the name or age of the man involved. In a press release later Tuesday afternoon, officers stated that the first officers to arrive found the man "with severe traumatic injuries and immediately began first aid."
They said, "Medical treatment continued, until it was determined the subject had succumbed to his injuries."
Workers at the scene said the man was using a large front end loader to move discarded, wooden industrial pallets from one place on the east side of a building to another, when the left front tire of the large machine exploded, injuring him.
"He was doing some sort of maintenance work," KDPS Capt. Vernon Coakley said of the injured man. "It looks like something mechanically happened to the forklift causing injury."
Coakley would not provide details, saying the circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated.
A worker said the man had been on the job for just a matter of months.
In its statement, Kalamazoo Public Safety extended condolences to members of the man's family. The department was withholding the name of the victim until it believes his family has been properly notified.
Officers ask anyone with more information about the incident to contact them directly at 269-337-8994 or anonymously via the Silent Observer, 269-343-2100.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A 45-year-old man was killed in a workplace explosion late Tuesday afternoon in Kalamazoo.
It happened around 2:30 p.m., at Holland Pallet Repair on factory street in Kalmazoo.
“It sounded like something large had fallen on the roof or something. It shook the house a bit,” said neighbor Geary North.
The sound of an explosion rocked the neighborhood by the Holland Pallet Repair facility this afternoon.
“It was a big boom, they said it was ear shattering, like ‘boom,’” said Richard Motycka, with AAA Performance. “It was all over when the explosion happened. I don't think he knew what hit him.”
Police and medics arrived to find a Holland Pallet maintenance worker unresponsive. They were unable to revive the 45-year-old man, who died on the scene.
A company employee tells Newschannel 3 the victim was trying to re-fill a tire on a front loader, when it exploded.
At this point, it's unclear how the explosion occurred, or what led to the death.
Gary Kingsbury, a former Holland Pallet employee, used to work on the front loader involved in the incident.
“They've had it years. And we've changed him. I've helped change them before. I air them up and everything,” Kingsbury said.
Richard Motycka, owns AAA Performance, next door to Holland Pallet. He says he knew the victim, and that he was homeless before recently getting hired at Holland Pallet Repair.
“He just started working here 2-3 weeks ago. He did general maintenance, and whatever the boss needed him to do,” Motycka said.
Holland Pallet Repair has been co-owned since 1987. We are a local business who believes in helping the community by recycling used pallets. We build a variety of new and used pallets and crates, also customized for the customers needs. We are ISPM 15 certified to heat-treat pallets