Police identify worker killed at Avondale mushroom plant

Posted: January 20, 2012

A mushroom worker who died Monday after being crushed by a 700-pound hay bale at an Avondale processing plant was identified Thursday.

New Garden Township police said that officers were dispatched to the Cardile Bros. mushroom plant in the 8800 block of Gap Newport Pike at 12:44 p.m. Monday for "an industrial-related incident" and that medical personnel pronounced Lucio Valderrabano, 40, dead at the scene.

Police said no further details would be released until a joint investigation with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was completed.

Walter Timby, a spokesman for the plant, called Valderrabano's death "a terrible, terrible accident." He said Valderrabano had been a "diligent, hardworking" employee at the fourth-generation, family owned company for nearly two years.

Valderrabano, who also lived on the property, had been working with the 700-pound hay bales used to make compost for mushroom-growing, a job he had performed many times, according to Timby. It appeared Valderrabano had untied the rope securing the bottom bale and was walking around to the other side of a two-bale stack when the top bale, which was no longer supported properly, fell on him.

Timby said the company, which began operating in 1940, had never had a serious work-related injury, let alone a fatality. "Everyone was visibly upset," he said.

He said that although Valderrabano, a Mexican immigrant, had not listed a next of kin on his employment forms, a friend had located his wife in Mexico. Timby said arrangements were being made to get her a visa so she could claim her husband's body.


Contact staff writer Kathleen Brady Shea at 610-696-3815, kbrady@phillynews.com, or @brandywinebits on Twitter. Read her blog, "Chester County Inbox," at www.philly.com/chescoinbox.

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