The Herald Bulletin

July 9, 2010

Man nearly loses arm in industrial accident

By Christina M. Wright
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — A man trapped in a mattress-rolling machine Friday morning, was flown to Indianapolis with a partially amputated arm, according to Anderson fire department.

“One of the medics said, on the way, he was doing some survey, and (the man) had some feeling,” said Larry Towne, a battalion chief.

Towne said the 31-year-old man, whose name was not released, was one of two men manning a car-sized machine that rolls mattresses at Barber Manufacturing Co., Inc. Towne said the machine swallowed the man’s arm up to about his elbow.

“The biggest problem was the material that was involved in the machine, was wrapped up in the machine,” Towne said.

The battalion chief said medics administered pain killers while firefighters worked with a mechanic that was dismantling the machine to free the employee. Towne estimated the team freed the man in about 15 to 20 minutes, though “it feels like forever.”

The man was transported to St. John’s Medical Center, just blocks away, and immediately taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Towne said the hope was to save the man’s arm.

Barber Manufacturing Co., Inc. is a family-owned business that has manufactured customized springs for furniture, cars and mattresses since 1894, according to the company’s website. Comment from the company was not available at the time of publication.

Contact Christina M. Wright, 640-4883,