Fatality at Rouge Halted Operations

This incident marks the fourth serious worker mishap at the Rouge complex since February.

Work was suspended last Tuesday at the Ford Motor Co.'s Rouge complex in Dearborn, Mich., when a 44-year-old carpenter died of an undetermined cause.

Daniel J. Barton, a Fluor Constructors International Corp. employee from Monroe, collapsed at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the end of his 10-hour shift. He was alone in a 20-foot-deep trench, where he was building a wooden frame for a cement wall near a water line.

Following the incident, officials from the state Department of Consumer and Industry Services were assigned to investigate reports of strange fumes in the trench where the accident occurred.

The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office performed an autopsy, and investigators are awaiting toxicology tests before releasing the findings.

Monday afternoon, three co-workers were also taken to the hospital as a precaution for grief-related treatment, according to a spokesman for Fluor Corp.

Executives from CMS Energy, which hired Fluor to build the power plant, said the site was safe and workers were expected to be back on the job last Thursday.

This is the fourth serious worker mishap at the Rouge complex since a Feb. 1 explosion at the Rouge Power House. That accident killed six and injured 14 others and resulted in a $1.5 million fine against Ford, the largest in state history.

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