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Employee of Jefferson County trash-hauling business dies when building catches fire

Employee of Jefferson County trash-hauling business dies when building catches fire


JEFFERSON COUNTY — A man died early Tuesday in a fire at a trash-hauling business in Imperial despite an attempted rescue by two co-workers who were forced back by flames and heavy smoke, according to authorities and an owner of the business.

Firefighters were called about 4:15 a.m. Tuesday to Bob’s Disposal Services at 883 Big Z Boulevard in Imperial. The business was engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Firefighters were notified that the victim was an employee who slept in an upstairs loft and had apparently locked himself in. The Jefferson County sheriff’s office had a fire investigator at the scene and another was dispatched from the state fire marshal’s office. Grant Bissell, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, confirmed that one person died in the fire.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Patricia Grundmeyer owns the business with her husband and told the Post-Dispatch that the man who died in the fire was an employee.

“I told him he couldn’t live in the building and he said he would only stay when he couldn’t get a ride home,” she said.

She said a route supervisor and another employee “tried to get in the building to get him out of there. They both suffered smoke inhalation and couldn’t get to him.”

Bissell declined to identify the man who died but a woman who answered the phone at the business later Tuesday said he was Shane Johnson. She said Johnson, who was in his 50s, had worked for the company for a few years.

Grundmeyer said the supervisor told her that he thinks the building will now be condemned and they wouldn’t be able to operate the trucks for Tuesday’s routes. Grundmeyer said she and her husband own the business, but not the building.

Ron Harder, a spokesman with the Rock Community Fire Protection District, said it took about an hour to get the fire under control.

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