City worker suffers severe head injury
A Fairfield wastewater facility employee, Larry Hanshaw, was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Tuesday for an injury he suffered on the job.
Fairfield city administrator Kevin Flanagan said today Hanshaw is in stable condition after an accident left him with a severe head injury.
Flanagan said the incident happened mid-morning Tuesday on the grounds of the wastewater treatment facility. Hanshaw and two other wastewater employees were disposing of a brush pile at the site. Before the city opened its yard waste site on South 20th Street earlier this year, people in town took their yard waste to the wastewater treatment facility.
The employees were burning the brush that remained at the site. When the employees were cleaning up the remnants of the fire Tuesday morning, Hanshaw threw a seemingly empty plastic container onto a debris pile. Flanagan said the container used to hold diesel fuel and may have contained gasoline fumes. He said pressure built up inside the container and when it was released the container shot back at Hanshaw, striking him in the face.
Flanagan said the two workers with Hanshaw, Cory Warner and Ross Vance, saved his life by rolling him over and preventing him from suffocating.
“I met with the whole crew [Wednesday] morning to talk with the guys and tell them we’re proud of the way they reacted,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family. It was a very unfortunate accident.”
The city administrator said an ambulance arrived promptly and transported Hanshaw to the Jefferson County Health Center. He was later taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Flanagan said he believes the incident was a “no fault accident.” He said Hanshaw is doing as well as can be expected for someone with his injuries.
He said the city is still investigating how the incident occurred. It has taken written statements from the employees who were on the scene. It has notified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the event as well.