By Al Novack, Jericka Duncan, and Mike DeNardo
UPPER MERION, Pa. (CBS) — It’s an accident that had never happened before at the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News newspaper processing plant. A rail engineer unloading newspaper print rolls was crushed Friday morning.
“It’s an unfortunate freak accident,” said Lt. Thomas Nolan with Upper Merion Township.
The accident happened just before 9:30 a.m., as two rail workers unloaded rolls of newsprint at the plant near River Road and 3rd Street in Conshohocken.
Upper Merion police lieutenant Tom Nolan says 43-year-old Jefferson Troester of Claymont, Delaware opened the door to a boxcar, and two 1,500-pound rolls of newsprint tumbled out.
“Two of the rolls fell out, pinning that worker between the train and the loading dock area,” Nolan says.
A co-worker tried to move the roll while others called 911. But, according to Nolan, Troester showed no signs of life when rescue crews arrived. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lt. Nolan says the rolls in the other boxcars were secured, but for some reason these rolls shifted en route.
“At this point, That’s what we believe — that it did shift in transit. And then pretty quickly after the door was opened, it did fall out.”
Officials tell Eyewitness News that Troester was employed with Arcelor Mittal Steel Company, which owns Brandywine Valley Railways. Employees who spoke to Eyewitness News off-camera described Troester as a hard working, long time employee who had moved up from maintenance worker to rail engineer.
“It’s very difficult,” said Mark Block, with the Philadelphia Media Network.
Block says that even though Troester wasn’t an employee with the papers, he was still a vital part of their team.
“He was bringing a product essential to our product and to the building,” said Block. “You never want this to happen. It’s a very sad day.”
A spokesperson for Plymouth Railroad says the company is cooperating with all state and federal regulatory agencies and has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the incident.