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Washington Man Survives Going Through Wood Chipper

By Benjamin Fearnow
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File photo of an ambulance. (Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of an ambulance. (Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Longview, Wash. (CBS SEATTLE) – A Longview man is recovering from serious injuries after he was trapped and sent through a shredding wood chipper machine at work.

Much of Frank Arce’s body has been shredded and crushed after he climbed into a turned-off wood chipper machine to retrieve an object stuck in the bark-shredding device – something practiced by him and his co-workers at the Swanson Bark and Wood Products Company, KATU reports. However, someone was not aware that Arce was inside the barrel-sized machine, and the spikes and claws inside the device were turned back on with him inside.

Arce heard the machine click back on, but he knew it was too late for him to escape.

“Actually going through the machine itself wasn’t the worst part about it,” he told KATU on Wednesday from his hospital bed at PeaceHealth SW Washington Medical Center. “What was the worst part (was) the not knowing what was going to happen.”

Arce’s injuries are severe, and he is expected to remain in the hospital for at least the next few weeks. Arce sustained a broken pelvis, seven broken ribs, a shattered ankle, bruised liver, broken leg, a collapsed lung and a deep cut that runs the entire length of the back of his body. The cut was so deep it crushed his knee, and he remains on a heavy dose of pain medication at the hospital.

He remained conscious throughout the ten-second shredding.

Arce has remained very positive about the incident, saying his co-workers’ training allowed him to receive care quickly, and he was even sharing jokes and smiling with friends and family at the hospital.

“There was a thought (that I was going to die) but it was more like something was telling me I wasn’t going to die that day,” he told KATU. “I felt I had a lot of angels out there with me that day – a lot of people looking out for me.”

The human resources representative for the Swanson Bark and Wood Products company said that the company will be paying 100 percent of his medical bills. And although the Washington State Bureau of Labor and Industries is investigating the incident, KATU found that both state and federal regulatory agencies have found no workplace problems with the company in the past.

 – Benjamin Fearnow

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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