Read update here: Man crushed under thousands of pounds of glass dies
ST. GEORGE — More than 20,000 pounds of glass reportedly crashed down on top of a man at a glass production facility in St. George Wednesday, according to witnesses at the scene of the incident.
Officials responded to a report of an “industrial accident” at Viracon, an architectural glass production facility located at 1586 E. Venture Drive, at approximately 8:45 a.m., St. George Fire Capt. Rick Nelson said.
Preliminary reports indicate that the glass had fallen on a truck driver delivering glass to the facility.
“We had a gentleman delivering in a glass truck and, while they were unloading, the glass moved or shifted or something – it’s still being investigated so we don’t know exactly what’s going on yet – but it ended up shattered and the gentleman was trapped underneath the whole unit of glass,” Nelson said.
Dylan Westover, a witness at the scene, said he was told by a Viracon employee that the man was crushed by 24,000 pounds of glass.
Emergency crews and Viracon personnel were able to get the man out from underneath the shattered glass and initiate CPR, Nelson said.
“(We) did get a pulse before we left the scene,” Nelson said, “and so we hope for the best there.”
The man was subsequently transported to a hospital facility via Life Flight. As this report is published, his identity had not been released.
Nelson commended Viracon employees for the way in which they efficiently handled the situation, adding that Viracon personnel were fully-equipped in safety gear trying to remove the glass when first responders arrived on scene.
“A lot of thought process goes into (the extrication),” Nelson said. “You’re worried about the safety (and) you’re worried about the other units of glass that may be unstable at that point.”
Viracon opened its 210,000-square-foot production facility in St. George in the spring of 2007.
Annette Panning, Viracon director of marketing and product management out of the company’s main corporate facility in Owatonna, Minnesota, was unable to confirm the weight of the glass that had fallen on the man.
Panning said Wednesday that the corporate office did not yet have the specifics of the accident and that the information would be forthcoming.
In terms of the general policy at Viracon, Panning said safety of employees is always foremost.
“I think it’s just an instinct when something happens, the individuals at any of our facilities take the precautionary measures for themselves and those around them, just naturally,” Panning said. “It’s beyond protocol. I truly do think that it’s so important in this organization that it becomes an instinctual reaction.”
Panning said she did not know the specifics of what was done during the process Wednesday morning to remove the glass or whether an injury of this nature or magnitude had previously ever occurred at the facility.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.
Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.