Victim in Stump Grinder Accident Mourned

Federal officials are investigating the fatal mishap.

The victim killed in a freak accident with a stump grinder in Portsmouth this week is being mourned.

Police identified the victim as Matthew Morasse, 43, of Rochester.

Morasse was killed while operating the grinder at a luxurious home at 260 Gosport Rd. Authorities called it an "industrial accident" and said he died from trauma to his body.

Industrial stump grinders like the one involved in Thursday's fatal accident have a powerful cutting wheel the size of a car tire. The spiked wheel spins extremely fast, shredding wood as the operator sweeps it through the stump.

Morasse worked for Rochester-based Urban Tree Service, which the homeowners contracted for landscaping work. He was using the grinder by himself at the time of the accident, authorities said.

"This was a tragic accident and we are all trying to understand how to cope with it," company president Ed Hopkins said in a statement. "I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and support to the family."

Authorities on Friday were still trying to figure out exactly how the accident happened. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident. The agency can fine companies for such industrial accidents if there's evidence of negligence.

The home Morasse was working at was sold in January for $1.2 million.

MD June 22, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Why is the value of the home important to this tragic story?
Pete Truth @PeteTruth June 22, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Why do the Feds have to stick their noses into everything. This was clearly a tragic accident. The local authorities should be all that is needed to investigate this. And also , what is a fine going to do to bring back that person?
Proud Conservative June 22, 2013 at 01:56 PM
OSHA is responsible for worker safety. They investigate industrial accidents for several reasons - 1.to see if the company and worker were complying with safety regulations and 2. to determine of regulations pertaining to this equipment are adequate. As far as the fine goes.......if there were no fines or penalties for violating safety regulations, why would employers bother investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect employees?
Step Steppins August 12, 2013 at 08:06 PM
This is a very sad and uncommon accident. In the stump grinding and tree removal industry all care is taken to ensure worker safety. At http://stumpgrindingbrisbane.net/ we take every caution possible but still stump grinding and tree work are dangerous. Condolences to the family and friends.


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