Man killed in Franklin paper company accident identified

Coroner’s investigator Doyle Burke said Terry Ray, 48, of Franklin was pronounced dead after he was caught under a rotating drum at Cheney Pulp and Paper Co. at around 10 p.m. at the family-owned business on Anderson Street.

Burke said the cause of death will be blunt force trauma, but Ray was an experienced worker so they won’t know how he was caught under the drum until the autopsy, which will be performed today.

“There are rotating drums that are filled with this mixture that makes pulp,” Burke said. “His job is to operate a bobcat that scoops that out. He got caught underneath one of these rotating drums. This is a guy who was an experienced operator so there has got to be a reason that this went wrong. There may not be. This could also be a mistake and it’s a terrible accident.”

Burke said he would be meeting with OSHA officials later today.

Franklin Police Chief Russ Whitman said there hasn’t been an accident at the plant since 1934.

“Cheney Pulp and Paper Co. is a small town business,” Whitman said. “This is the great grandson of the original owners still running it today. They’re grieving the loss of their employee tonight.”

According to the company’s website, Cheney Pulp and Paper has been in business for 75 years, producing specialty pulps for the paper industry made from cotton and other natural fibers.

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