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Fatal Incident Reported at Expera Mill in Old Town, Maine

Old Town, Maine, USA 03 June 2015 -- (From The Bangor Daily News) -- Officials have released more details about the death of a contractor Tuesday afternoon at the Expera mill in Old Town.

Mark Guay, 54, of Norridgewock was found dead at the mill when emergency responders arrived, Old Town police Capt. Lee Miller said in a Wednesday email.

Guay was delivering wood chips to the mill and somehow fell into a hopper, Expera spokeswoman Addie Teeters said Wednesday morning. A hopper is a container for bulk material that typically opens at the bottom to discharge its contents.

"We believe that [Guay] was attempting to prepare his chip trailer to be unloaded and had climbed up onto his trailer," Lee said. "He lost his balance and fell into the hopper of the machine approximately 25 feet to the bottom."

Guay worked as a driver for a trucking company contracted by the mill, the name of which was not immediately available.

"Nobody witnessed what happened to make him fall into the hopper," she said.

Even though the man was not a mill employee, those who work in the industry are grieving his death, Teeters said.

"The entire mill is completely saddened by this," she said, adding grief counselors are at the mill for those who need assistance.

Old Town police and fire personnel were called to the mill about 2 p.m. Tuesday. After pronouncing the man deceased, officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the state medical examiner's office were called to assist.

"Unfortunately, we can't release any information beyond that we're investigating," Karen Billups, assistant area director for OSHA, said Wednesday.

OSHA investigators were at the scene until late Tuesday, she said.

"We have up to six months to make our findings, but usually it doesn't take that long," Billups said. "I would say [the report will be done in] four to six weeks."

A crane was used to remove the man's body from the hopper around 4 p.m.

There have been more than 180 fatal occupational injuries in Maine since 2005, according to Maine Department of Labor statistics. The data does not include the number of fatal injuries in 2014 or to this point in 2015, as the report hasn't been updated.

The formerly shuttered mill was acquired by Expera Specialty Solutions of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, late last year. The company reopened the former Old Town Fuel & Fiber pulp mill in January and began producing pulp again.

All 180 mill employees were rehired to work at Expera about six months after they got layoff notices from Old Town Fuel & Fiber.


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