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Pa. man dies after fall at Grove

July 18, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

SHADY GROVE, Pa. - A Mercersburg, Pa., man who worked at Grove-Manitowoc Crane Group for 37 years died Saturday when he fell from a crane being tested at the plant.

Dale E. Heefner, 58, of 6015 Charlestown Road was pronounced dead at Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital at 10:46 a.m., according to Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner. He said an autopsy was performed Sunday at Lehigh Valley Medical Center in Allentown, Pa., and the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

Conner said Heefner was working with other members of a test crew when he was injured in an outdoor testing area.

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"He was in the process of securing the extension of the crane when it failed to latch and moved away from the crane," Conner said. The movement of the extension caused Heefner to lose his balance and fall backward to the ground, he said.

Heefner was standing about 8 feet above ground level when he fell, Conner said. The call to 911 came in at 9:52 a.m. and Heefner arrived at the hospital at about 10:30 a.m., Conner said.

"He was a human dynamo ... He was a wonderful man," said his wife, Teene. He had a daughter and two stepsons and "he adored his grandchildren. They were his life," she said.

"I can say he was someone everybody cared about, judging from the phone calls I've had," she said Sunday evening.

Heefner said her husband was an avid hunter and outdoorsman who at one time raised pheasants and wild turkey.

"When we went out, it would be to our deck to watch the deer cross the road," she said. "He was a nice guy."

Dale Heefner had road-tested cranes at Grove-Manitowoc Crane Group, formerly Grove Worldwide, for about 25 to 30 years and had worked in the test track area of the factory for about eight years, she said. His obituary states he had worked for Grove since 1968.

"Any industrial accident is investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, as well as OSHA," Conner said, referring to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. He said he will be meeting with OSHA officials today to discuss the investigation.

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