Police release names of men killed, injured in fall at Costco chicken plant construction site

Police release names of men killed, injured in fall at Costco chicken plant construction site
The names of the 56-year-old worker who was killed and the 26-year-old injured at the site of the future Costco chicken plant have not yet been released. The two workers fell 40 feet from a lift basket they were working in. This photo of the work site in Fremont was taken last year. BRENDAN SULLIVAN/THE WORLD-HERALD

One man was killed and another was critically injured Thursday at the Costco chicken plant that is under construction in Fremont.

Two workers fell 40 feet from a lift basket they were working in, Fremont police said. Melvin E. Balaban, 56, of Crete, was killed and 26-year-old Caleb M. Sabatka of Beatrice was injured.

Fremont fire and rescue personnel were called to the site at 1000 E. Cloverly Road at 9:37 a.m., Fire Capt. Jamie Meyer said.

Crews had to make a “high-angle rescue” of one of the workers, Meyer said.

“The patient was trapped on the frame of a bin inside the facility,” he said.

A medical helicopter took Sabatka to Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy in Omaha. He was listed in serious condition Friday.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called to the scene, Meyer said.

An OSHA spokesman said the agency has opened an investigation into the incident and has started interviewing potential witnesses and the employer. The two workers were employed by Stonebrook Exterior, the spokesman said.

Jessica Kolterman, a spokeswoman for Lincoln Premium Poultry, said she had no details about the incident.

The plant has been under construction since 2017.

Emergency personnel from the Fremont Fire Department, the Fremont Rural Fire Department and the Fremont Police Department responded. In addition to OSHA, Fremont police also are investigating the incident.

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