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Worker dies in industrial accident at Jennie-O plant Thursday in Melrose

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Worker dies in industrial accident at Jennie-O plant Thursday in Melrose
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MELROSE -- An industrial accident Thursday evening at the Jennie-O Turkey Store's Melrose plant resulted in the death of Christopher Hansen, 27, of Sartell, the company said Friday in a news release.

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He died Thursday around 10:30 p.m., the company said. He was crushed in machinery, said James Honerman, spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Hansen's mother, Jackie Spoden-Bolz of Sauk Centre, told the St. Cloud Times that Hansen was cleaning out a machine at the turkey processing plant when something became stuck in it. He got caught while trying to pull it out, she said.

Spoden-Bolz said Hansen, whose birthday was Thursday, was a caring person who enjoyed hunting and fishing.

"He would do anything for anyone," she said. "He was my baby."

The company said it is cooperating with authorities.

Jennie-O President Mike Tolbert said the company, which has headquarters in Willmar, has been in contact with Hansen's family.

He gave his condolences to the family, and he said the death is a very sad event for other employees.

"By all accounts, Chris was an excellent employee who was highly regarded by his co-workers and the management team at our Melrose plant,'' said Tolbert. "His loss will be deeply felt.''

An autopsy will be conducted, but Hansen's death did not look suspicious, said John Sanner, Stearns County Sheriff.

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