Man dead after he was buried in sawdust at Valley Center lumberyard

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A Butler County man in his sixties is dead after police say he was buried in sawdust at a Valley Center lumberyard.

Valley Center police Sgt. Michael Gordon said the man was at Conner Industries, 202 S. Cedar Ave. in Valley Center, buying sawdust for agricultural use when he got trapped under some sawdust falling from a hopper around 12:30 p.m. Thursday. A hopper is a type of storage bin. Conner Industries had used this one to store sawdust left over from its operations, Gordon said.

Gordon said the man had parked his farm truck beneath the hopper so he could fill his trailer with the sawdust. But some of it apparently got stuck.

“From what we can gather he was under there trying to knock some sawdust loose with a pitch fork and it came down on top of him,” Gordon said.

The man was alone at the time, he said.

When someone finally found the man, he was buried and wasn’t breathing, Gordon said. First responders declared him dead at the scene.

Gordon didn’t release other details about the man on Thursday afternoon, including his name or where exactly he lives. The death is believed to be accidental, he said.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.