Headline — 28 October 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Exploding boiler kills Quality Poultry employee

SPANISH LOOKOUT–A resident of Santa Familia, Cayo District, succumbed to varying degrees of burns he received following an incident in which he was accidentally drenched with boiling water while working at a local chicken processing plant belonging to Quality Poultry Products in the Spanish Lookout community in the Cayo District.

The incident reportedly happened a little over a week ago, on October 16; however, the victim, Sabino Pimentel had been fighting for his life since then until he died on Thursday, October 23, while undergoing specialist treatment in Guatemala.

Raymond Barkman, general manager of Quality Poultry Products, issued a statement this evening explaining the sequence of events concerning the unfortunate incident.

The statement said that on October 16, 2014, the management was alerted to an accident that had occurred in the boiler section of the compound, and upon arriving there they saw Pimentel under a water fountain cooling himself down from an obvious steam burn, after which an instant decision was made to get him out of the country to a burn victim facility in Guatemala City.

“The ambulance and our emergency committee were immediately called to make decisions as it related to Mr. Sabino. The doctors at Guatemala were alerted and asked for an official examination from a doctor in-country so that they would have a better idea of the status of the patient, so Mr. Sabino was taken to the La Loma Luz Hospital and examined, after which he was transported by ambulance to Flores, Guatemala, where the company had a plane waiting to take him to Guatemala City.

“The accident occurred at approximately 11:00 a.m. and by 4:00 p.m., Mr. Sabino was in Guatemala City undergoing treatment. The doctors told his family that if he would make it through the first three days, he would be OK. However, sadly, this is not the case, and he succumbed to his injuries exactly one week later in Guatemala”, the statement said.

The statement went on to explain what led to Pimentel’s untimely death, saying, “After the accident, we went and evaluated what had occurred. A detailed report was forwarded…stating the circumstance of this incident and sadly, it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. What happened is that we have two levels in our rendering plant – the top level obviously being the place where we fill up our boilers, and the bottom level where after being cooked, [the product] gets taken out.

“What occurred is that the top cover of the boiler blew open; safety checks are done regularly and there was no indication that anything needed to be changed. The accident took place on the second floor and at the time, there was not supposed to have been anyone on that level, as the boiler had already been filled. It is really sad, because we don’t know why Sabino was up there, and worse, at the particular time when it exploded.”

Barkman, who said that he was making the report with a heavy heart and profound sadness, since Pimentel will be deeply and truly missed, described the victim as a leader who completely managed the company’s boiler system, and a dedicated worker who loved his job so much that even during the time he was being transported to the medical facility he was concerned not with his health, but with the crude oil level of the boilers, as they were at the reserve levels.

In an attempt to get some information on the police’s investigation into the matter, Amandala contacted Officer in Charge of San Ignacio Police, ASP Dindsdale Thompson, who informed us that the investigation into the matter has just commenced, and therefore, authorities have limited data on what actually transpired.

He said, “We are just bringing the management [of the company] from Spanish Lookout [to the police station] and right now we are recording statements, but the investigation has just started today, and all I can say at this time is that the matter is being investigated.”

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