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Man from Falkville ID'd in fatal steel accident

By Eric Fleischauer
DAILY Business Writer 340-2435

Decatur police on Thursday identified a crane operator who died in an industrial accident at Steel Related Technology as Jeremiah Nathaniel Brown of Falkville.

The 29-year-old died Wednesday when a cable holding a steel beam snapped, dropping the beam on Brown.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident. Area Director Roberto Sanchez, based in Birmingham, said Thursday that it will be about a month before the agency will release the results of its investigation.

SRT, which employs 65 in Decatur, provides industrial maintenance services for Nucor Steel Corp.

SRT also has facilities in Arkansas, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. Companywide, it employs 230.

No criminal charges expected

Lt. Chris Mathews, public information officer at Decatur Police Department, said Thursday the incident appeared to be an "unfortunate industrial accident and (we) do not expect any criminal charges to be filed."

Brown was married to Felicia Dawn Netherton Brown and had twin daughters, Kayla and Kaden. He was the son of Don Brown and Debra Turan.

Kim Pritchard, environmental health and safety engineer at Decatur's Nucor plant, said the safety records of its contractors are important to Nucor.

"We have a very strict contractor safety program," Pritchard said. "We have a (safety) meeting with our contractors every Thursday. SRT is invited to those meetings. It attends them."

Safety issues play a role in Nucor's determination of whether to retain particular contractors, according to Pritchard, but he said it is premature to speculate on whether Brown's death will impact Nucor's relationship with SRT.

"We'll have to wait for the investigation to be complete to determine," Pritchard said. "This is something Nucor will be patient about. We'll wait for SRT to have the time to do a very thorough investigation."

He said one goal of the investigation is to prevent similar accidents at the Nucor plant.

"When their investigation is complete, they will review their findings with us, to see what we can learn from the incident ourselves," Pritchard said. "We'll put any corrective actions in place that we need to, to prevent something like that from happening at our facility."

"We are very sad about this," Pritchard said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Brown family and the SRT team."

Brown graduated from West Point High School and Athens State College. He was a member of the Alabama State Defense Force and a former member of the Battle Ground and Falkville volunteer fire departments. He attended Round Top Community Church.

SRT's Decatur facility is at 701 Market St. N.W.

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