MOUNT JEWETT — A Smethport man was killed when he fell about 90 feet from a roof while performing scheduled maintenance at the Georgia Pacific MDF plant in Mount Jewett early Monday morning.
Michael J. Page, 41, was pronounced dead on the scene Monday by McKean County Coroner Mike Cahill.
Cahill said on Tuesday that an autopsy had been conducted, and Page’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and trunk, and the manner of death was accidental.
Company spokesman Rick Kimble explained to The Era via telephone that the accident which led to Page’s death is still under investigation.
“We honestly do not have many of the details,” he said. “They were doing scheduled maintenance on the roof of the building. What we’re trying to find out is why Mr. Page fell off the roof.”
Pausing for a moment, his voice brimming with emotion, Kimble said, “It was about the worst thing I can think of.”
He explained, “The mill has been down for a scheduled outage for maintenance. They were doing things they can’t do when the mill is open.”
At around 1 a.m., Page was with a crew who were doing scheduled maintenance on the brightly lit exterior roof, he explained. “They were taking out some (filter) bags on the roof, which is a somewhat routine procedure.
“We’re struggling to determine what happened,” he said. “To say that safety is a priority seems a bit lacking at this point.
“We do everything we can to put safety measures in place and do proper training” to make sure they are followed, Kimble said. “We will go back and look. There are certain procedures that should have been in place; we will look to see if all procedures were followed.”
Page had been with the company for 12 years, he said.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been to the site, as is typical when there is a fatality.
Kimble said that the situation is a tragedy.
“Not only did a family lose a great family man and a great father, but we lost a great employee. It’s a tragedy for all of us.”
He said grief counselors have been at the plant and will continue to be available as long as the company feels there is a need.