A 24-year-old Seward man was killed Saturday in an industrial accident at Afognak Construction in Seward.
Pete Fretwell, a former mechanics student at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center in Seward, was changing the tire on a dump truck when a split rim blew off the tire, striking Fretwell in the forehead and killing him instantly, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Sgt. Brandon Anderson, stationed with the troopers in Seward, responded to the call, which came in about noon Saturday.
Anderson said Fretwell was working on reinstalling the front tire of an older dump truck when the accident occurred. Like many older trucks, the vehicle had a split rim a steel ring that helps hold the tire in place.
Anderson said split rims have been considered hazardous for many years, and tires usually are inflated within a steel cage to protect workers from possible split rim accidents.
Afognak Construction personnel acted according to that procedure, Anderson said, inflating the tire within a cage Friday.
"It held firm," Anderson said.
It wasn't until a crew rolled the tire outside and was using an air wrench to put the lug nuts on that the split rim blew.
"It blew off with explosive force," Anderson said.
The piece of metal struck Fretwell in the forehead. Troopers and Seward police responded to the accident, and Seward Emergency Medical Services also were called. Fretwell was pronounced dead at the scene.
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