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Pa. man killed in forklift accident

November 11, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - A Greencastle, Pa., man doing masonry work on a new home on Pembroke Drive southeast of Hagerstown died Wednesday after a forklift on which he was being hoisted toppled and he was thrown from the cage.

William Kaetzel, 41, of 305 S. Washington St., died following the 1:15 p.m. accident at a work site at 9802 Pembroke Drive, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Deputy 1st Class Jim Woods said that Kaetzel was inside a Pettibone forklift cage, which had been hoisted 35 feet. He was to install a keystone above a second story window on the house off Beaver Creek Road southeast of Hagerstown, Woods said.

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He said the forklift toppled, throwing Kaetzel out of the cage in which he was standing.

Woods said that Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating the accident Wednesday.

At the scene, a dirt-covered hill slanted up to the front of the brick house, which was nearly surrounded by scaffolding.

The forklift was on its side just below the front of the house. Community Rescue Service paramedics performed CPR on Kaetzel.

The forklift operator sat on a grassy lawn, which was next to the house under construction. He occasionally rubbed his hands over his face and head. He would not comment on the accident.

Funkstown Fire Department Deputy Chief Glenn Fuscsick said that the forklift operator refused medical treatment.

Charles Riffle, 56, a mason with Jolliffe Masonry & Construction Inc. of Williamsport, said that Kaetzel had been employed by the company for "a while."

He said that he was on the other side of the house when he heard a boom. When Riffle and his co-workers ran around to the other side of the building, Kaetzel "was laying beside the cage," he said.

Riffle said the company had been working on the house for about two weeks.

Riffle, looking at the window above which Kaetzel was to install a stone, said, "I don't know what happened."

"If you pull straight up like that, you're usually OK," he said of driving the forklift. "It's windy today, I don't know what happened."

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