Bayou Steel contractor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2005

dies in apparent mishap


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – An A3M Vacuum Service Inc. employee reported missing from a Bayou Steel Corp. work site on Nov. 28 at 3:30 a.m. was found dead by another A3M Vacuum worker at 8 p.m. in the very spot he was reported missing, said Public Information Officer Sgt. Dane Clement with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Clement said the owner of A3M Vacuum Service Inc., located at 3270 W. Airline Highway, Reserve, called the Sheriff’s Office early Tuesday evening at 1:30 p.m. to file a missing person’s report on Arthur Griffith, 42, of 255 E. 24th Street, Reserve.

The owner of A3M Vacuum told authorities his company was contracted by the Bayou Steel Corp. located at 138 Highway 3217, LaPlace to execute a work project at the plant facility. Griffith was working on the project when he suddenly disappeared.

According to Clement, deputies were dispatched to Bayou Steel Corp. to acquire information for the missing person’s report on Griffith. When the officers arrived at the plant, they were met by the owner of A3M Vacuum.

Griffith’s employer told authorities Griffith was nowhere to be found. He said Griffith had not punched out at the end of his work day and that Griffith’s car was still locked in the Bayou Steel Corp. parking lot. The employer added that Griffith’s wife did not know the whereabouts of her husband.

Employees with Bayou Steel and with A3M Vacuum told authorities Griffith was last seen working in a three-foot deep pit. They said a fellow A3M Vacuum employee walked away from the pit for a while and that when he returned, Griffith was gone.

At 8 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office received another call on the incident. Authorities were told a body had been found at the Bayou Steel Corp.

According to Clement, deputies were dispatched to Bayou Steel to acquire information on what was presumed to be an accidental death.

Clement said Griffith’s body had been found by another A3M Vacuum employee in the three-foot deep pit, where he had been working earlier.

Coroner Dr. Christy Montegut examined Griffith’s body and reported the man died from asphyxiation as a result from being buried, said Clement.

“The incident is being treated as an accidental death unless an autopsy determines otherwise,” said Clement.

Clement said no additional information was available on Griffith’s death. He said he did not have specific details on how Griffith smothered in a three-foot hole or what material was responsible for burying Griffith in the pit.

Several telephone calls were placed to A3M Vacuum Services Inc. and to the Bayou Steel Corp. Wednesday. The calls were not returned.

The last fatal accident at the LaPlace facility was in April 2004.