Fatal industrial accident at IP under investigation

Published 11:42 am Thursday, December 17, 2020

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One person died in an industrial accident at International Paper’s Franklin Mill on Wednesday night.

The accident was reported about 9:07 p.m. to the Isle of Wight County 911 center, according to a news release from Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tommy Potter. The mill is located in Isle of Wight County, just outside the city of Franklin. Emergency crews from Isle of Wight County Department of Emergency Services and Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office personnel responded.

Upon arrival, first responders learned the accident involved a large crane. The International Paper emergency response team and on-site medical personnel were working to extricate the operator of the crane from the wreckage; unfortunately, however, the crane operator had succumbed from injuries sustained in the accident.

Isle of Wight County investigators performed a preliminary investigation and turned over those results to inspectors from Virginia OSHA, who will continue the investigation.

Jennifer Dixon, the communications manager at the Franklin mill, sent out the following statement in response to questions from the newspaper:

“On Wednesday, Dec. 16, at approximately 9 p.m., an incident occurred at International Paper’s Franklin Mill, resulting in a team member’s death. The name of the deceased is not being shared at this time. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident. The appropriate agencies have been notified, and they will be assisting us in the investigation.

“The Franklin Team is incredibly saddened by this news. Our deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones of our co-worker during this difficult time.”

City of Franklin Administrator Amanda Jarratt stated, “On behalf of the entire City of Franklin team we are saddened by the death that occurred as a result of an industrial accident at International Paper. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the deceased and the International Paper family.”

Don Robertson, assistant county administrator for Isle of Wight County said “Our deepest sympathies to the family and co-workers of the person fatally injured in the accident on last night.”

Chris Morello, director of Isle of Wight County’s economic development, stated, “The Economic Development Department is extremely saddened by this news. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the employee’s family and co-workers at this difficult time.”