Man Killed In Wood Chipper Identified

Brian Morse Owned Brian's Tree Service

The man who was pulled into a commercial wood chipper and killed was identified Thursday as the owner of a tree trimming service.

The coroner said Brian Ganiard Morse, 54, was killed instantly Wednesday afternoon when his hand got caught and he was somehow pulled into the machine.

Morse was identified using fingerprints.

The Larimer County Coroner ruled the death accidental and said Morse's cause of death was "total morselization of body due to being pulled by a gloved hand into a commercial wood chipper."

Morse owned Brian's Tree Trimming and Removal Service in Loveland.

Police said there are no indications that alcohol or drugs were factors in the accident and the results of toxicology tests are pending. There are no indications of suspicious circumstances or foul play, investigators said.

Morse's partner saw what happened from the hydraulic bucket where he was cutting branches. He got down and ran to the house where they were working to ask for help. The woman inside called 911 for help, but Morse was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officers with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into whether the machine's safety equipment was working properly.

From 1992 to 2002, 31 people died on the job from injuries associated with mobile wood chippers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Operators of mobile wood chippers, which have rotating blades to turn branches into mulch, face the potential risk of getting pulled into the feed mechanism. They are advised to wear close-fitting clothing and stand within reach of the emergency shutoff button.

Matt Newell, owner of Newell Brothers Tree Service in Fort Collins, said a chipper running at full speed can shred a 20-inch-wide log in 10 or 15 seconds. He said most tree services use wood chippers that are about 6 feet wide.

The industrial accident occurred in front of a home near the intersection of Wilson and Fountain avenues, at approximately 1:15 p.m.

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