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Worker dies after getting trapped in hopper at Newark, California gypsum plant

NEWARK, Calif. (From news reports) - Despite efforts to rescue him, a worker died in a hopper accident at a Newark gypsum plant and distribution center Tuesday, Dec. 27 according to the Alameda County Fire Department.

Firefighters were told at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday about a worker trapped in a four-story hopper at PABCO Gypsum.

Powder inside the hopper got hung up somehow and the worker went inside the hopper to assess the situation, Alameda County Fire Department Special Operations Division Chief Paige Bowie said.

A "very large quantity fell on him," Bowie said, and he was trapped in the powder, which was a lot like quicksand.

Both co-workers and firefighters tried to pull him out unsuccessfully. Firefighters tried to rescue the man from above and below where he was.

Bowie said it was deemed unsafe for firefighters or workers to go where the victim was in the hopper.

Firefighters eventually cut a hole in the hopper with a Petrogen torch and pulled the man out, Bowie said. The man was pronounced dead.

The man's name was not immediately available from the Alameda County coroner's bureau or the Newark Police Department.

The chief financial officer for PABCO Gypsum did not immediately return a call seeking comment on the case.

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