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Victim was avid hunter, fisherman

June 02, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

WILLIAMSPORT

Alvey Banzhoff, a Maryland Paper Co. employee who died Wednesday after he was caught between two machines at the plant near Williamsport, was a hunter, fisher, jokester and all-around good guy, his family said Thursday.

Banzhoff, 58, of Williamsport, worked at the plant for seven months before his death. His younger brother, Ronnie Banzhoff, said the men worked together at GST AutoLeather until the plant closed.

Maryland Paper Co. Operations Manager George Delaplaine said Banzhoff died after he "somehow was pinched between two pieces of machinery" about 12:15 p.m. Wednesday.

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Delaplaine said that machinery at the Elliott Parkway plant was up and running Thursday, but with signs outlining specific safety procedures.

The company turns bales of discarded cardboard and newspapers into roofing paper. On its Web site, the company describes its final product as "roofing felt."

The accident remained under investigation Thursday by Maryland Occupational Safety and Health, said Linda Sherman, director of communications for the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which includes MOSH.

Delaplaine said Thursday that MOSH investigators were at the plant and watched the rewinding machine run.

Delaplaine said Wednesday that there was no indication anything was wrong with the machinery into which Alvey Banzhoff was pulled. He said "safeguards" were in place.

"We're very sorry that this happened," Delaplaine said. "We're taking steps to ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again."

In 1994, five years after Maryland Paper Co. started, employee Kristoffer P. Loden, 19, of Hagerstown, lost his footing and was pulled into a paper rewinder machine. He was crushed to death.

Delaplaine said Thursday that the machine in which Loden was pulled was not the same machine in which Banzhoff was caught.

A grief counselor has been made available to the plant's employees, of which there are about 75, he said.

"We have offered all of our services to the family and are letting the family decide what to do," he said.

Ronnie Banzhoff, 48, said he'll miss hunting with his brother. Alvey Banzhoff was not married, he said. He had two sons, one of whom was killed in a motorcycle accident, Ronnie Banzhoff said.

"He liked to hunt and fish. He really didn't have any enemies," Ronnie Banzhoff said. "He really liked to go out west. He liked to go to Wyoming and hunt."

Ronnie Banzhoff said his brother was a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and admired Pete Rose.

Ashlee Banzhoff, 17, said Thursday that she will miss her uncle's jokes and singing.

She said he always sang "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer" for the close-knit Williamsport family at Christmas. She giggled talking about it, but said she wasn't sure why he did it.

"I just looked forward to him being around," she said.




Staff writer Andrew Schotz contributed to this story.

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