Mill where two died in 3 years has license revoked for 'fire code violations'

PHENIX CITY, Ala. — Phenix Lumber Company on Cutrate Road in Phenix, Alabama, has had its business license revoked due to “fire code violations,” according to news station WRBL. The decision was made at a City Council meeting on Tuesday morning. 

Phenix Lumber Company is a privately held forest products company specializing in sawmills and wood preservation. 

The lumber company has been the site of several accidents, but the report did not link the accidents to the fire code violations

In August 2023, James Streetman, a 67-year-old maintenance worker, was killed in an accident at the Alabama lumber mill. His death was the second such death at the mill in the last three years and the third in the last 14 years.

Streetman was found trapped in a piece of equipment at mill at approximately 3:30 p.m., the Phenix City Police Department and the Phenix City Fire Department responded to a call at the Phenix Lumber Company, 4 Cutrate RD.

in 2020, Phenix City police responded to a medical call at 5 a.m. on May 27 at the lumber company. When police arrived, they discovered the partial remains of 34-year-old worker Brandon Lee VanDyke. He had been servicing a malfunctioning woodchipper when he became entangled and suffered fatal wounds.

A decade earlier, in 2010, 57-year-old Charles Mercer, a laborer at the lumber yard, sustained a fatal head injury involving a forklift when installing a motor in a piece of machinery. In a separate incident, another worker was seriously injured when he broke his neck after falling 10 feet while performing daily maintenance on the de-barker. Some other incidents were amputations. Violations have included such infractions as failing to properly shutdown equipment and lock machines. 


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).