Seward man killed in industrial accident

Posted: Tuesday, July 01, 2003

SEWARD (AP) A Seward man was killed in an industrial accident at Afognak Construction in Seward.

Pete Fretwell, 24, a former mechanics student at the Alaska Vocational Technical Center in Seward, was changing a tire on a dump truck Saturday when a split rim blew off the tire, striking him in the forehead. He was killed instantly.

Sgt. Brandon Anderson, stationed with the state troopers in Seward, responded to the call. He 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.

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