Quarry Death Not A Rare Event Despite Safety Precautions

Quarry deaths tend to trend upward in the spring and summer months in Indiana, when people try to swim in the pools of water.

Indiana Limestone Quarry

Photo: Bill Shaw/WTIU news

An Indiana Limestone quarry is filled with water used to help wet the saws that cut the rock.

A death of a woman who fell into a quarry this weekend highlights an ongoing problem in South Central Indiana.

Rescue workers recovered Jamie Fleenor body from the Indiana Limestone Company’s Empire Quarry Sunday morning. Her husband says she fell from a cliff there earlier that day.

Lawrence County Sheriff Sam Craig says trespassing at quarries in the area is not unusual. Many people that are injured at the sites treat the quarries like parks or pools.

“We worked one here a while back where some kids were swimming and one of them dove in and hit, hit a ledge, and it appears that they know that it’s dangerous, but it just appears that they feel like it won’t happen to them,” he says.

Indiana Limestone Company Manager Mark Bryant says quarrying companies keep open reservoirs on site to wet the saws workers use to slice through rock.

Water aside, he says even walking around a quarry is a bad idea.

“There may be live power lines that are down, there may be jagged rocks,” he says. “They’re not trails, so they’re not meant for public walking on and that sort of thing.”

But he says limestone companies take plenty of precaution, surrounding the quarries with fencing or big pieces of stone and plenty of signs warning trespassers.

“We try to put up block barriers, but the problem with that is if people do get in there, if they decide to walk in there and get injured, then there’s no way to rescue them,” he says. “So we have to use regular gates and things and of course people can take – they can cut the chains and the locks or run through the fences or the gates with vehicles.”

Bryant says trespassing trends upward in the spring when the weather gets warmer and people try to use the quarries to cool off.

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