Freak accident claims Chadbourn fire rescue worker

By DEUCE NIVEN

    “One of those freak accidents” claimed the live of a well-known volunteer EMT/Firefighter and a paid ambulance service employee Thursday, Columbus County Coroner Linwood Cartrette said Friday.
    Richard Martin Sweerus, 64, of the 600 block of North Wilson Street in Chadbourn, was pronounced dead 2:53 p.m. Thursday at Columbus Regional Healthcare, where he was taken by Chadbourn Fire/Rescue, the department he had served for decades, Cartrette said.
    Sweerus had been working for Randy Guyton, his Columbus Transport employer, beating concrete from steel posts in a field behind the Tire Barn on the Old Chadbourn Highway, Cartrette said.
    Sweerus was alone, but the evidence left behind made it clear what happened, Cartrette said. Sweerus had been standing on a wooden spool, sideways on the ground, raising him about two feet high to get access to the posts as he pounded away with a large hammer.
    When the edge of the spool gave way, Sweerus fell to the dirt, and was impaled on a piece of steel rebar there. It punctured his upper chest.
    “The doctor said it hit the aorta,” Linwood said.
    Sweerus pulled the rebar from his chest, and began to walk away.
    “He got off just a short distance before he fell,” Cartrette said.
    Because he was working alone, it’s not clear just when the accident happened, Cartrette said. An employee of the nearby Tire Barn noticed Sweerus laying on the ground, and called 911.

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