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Police reports shed light on fatality at Georgia-Pacific Camas paper mill

CAMAS, Wash. (From news reports) -- Police reports filed in the wake of a March 8 fatality inside the Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Camas, shed light on what may have happened in the moments leading up to the death of 32-year-old mill employee Dakota Cline.

According to a police report filed by Camas Police Sergeant Brian Salwasser, Cline was working alone on a machine that had reportedly been having issues earlier in the day when the incident occurred.

Other mill employees told Salwasser that they were operating equipment "upstream" from Cline's machine in a separate building approximately 300 yards from the building where Cline was operating a machine involved in the plant's packing process. The other employees would put boxes of product onto a conveyor belt and then Cline was tasked with operating a machine that organized the boxes onto pallets and then wrapped them in plastic for shipping.

According to the police report, Cline had been having issues with the machine -- a Georgia-Pacific spokesperson said earlier this month that Cline had been fully trained on the machine and had been operating it for the past three months prior to his death on March 8.

The employees Salwasser interviewed said the machine where Cline was working was "having issues" earlier that day and that they had spoken to Cline around 4:07 p.m. Friday, March 8. When the employees noticed boxes "getting backed up on the conveyor belt," around 4:30 p.m., they waited 15 minutes and then decided to check on Cline, according to the police report.

That is when, according to Salwasser's report, the mill workers saw Cline entangled in the packaging machine. The police report stated that Cline was dead when police arrived at the scene, and that mill employees had erected a temporary barrier to help shield Cline's body from onlookers.

Police say the two employees who discovered Cline's body immediately left the scene of the accident to alert security staff, who called for assistance from local police and emergency medical services.

One of the employees who discovered Cline's body later told police there were safety measures in place and that Cline had a key to shut down the machine's power supply before accessing the equipment.

"It appeared obvious (to this employee) that (Cline) failed to do this," Salwasser wrote in his report.

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