Longview man survives trip through wood chipper-like machine - KPTV - FOX 12

Longview man survives trip through wood chipper-like machine

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Frank Arce Frank Arce

Frank Arce credits his hard hat and some angels for surviving an accidental trip through a piece of machinery called a porcupine.

His family and friends and a positive attitude are getting the Longview man through his recovery.

"I find it harder to dwell on the negatives, honestly," said Arce. "I've always been one to look toward the future, so that's what I'm going to do now. I can't change what happened. It already happened. All I can do is to get where I want to now, from where I'm at."

He was trying to free a log that had gotten stuck in the porcupine when the machine turned on, pulling him through a narrow drum lined with curved spikes.

The crew followed their "lock down, tag out" procedures, but they didn't know the porcupine was connected to a different circuit, Arce said.

The accident left Arce with broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken pelvis, a shattered ankle and a broken toe. He has several very deep lacerations through his muscles.

Doctors think he may have permanent nerve damage in one of his legs and will have to wear a brace.

His hospital room at Peacehealth Southwest Medical Center has seen a constant stream of friends and family members trying to lift his sprits.

Arce's niece lent him a pink princess blanket. His sister collected a jar of pennies. And his friends try to keep Arce laughing.

"They put his ringtone as a blender," said Brenda Arce, his mother.

"Yeah, we started calling him the hopper," said Rick Gilchrist, a friend.

Arce calls the accident a "freak miscommunication" and said he has no hard feelings about what happened.

Instead, he is thankful to his co-workers for providing first aid immediately after the accident.

Arce hopes his story will reinforce the importance of safety precautions and communication.

The state is investigating the incident.

Investigators found no safety violations during the most recent inspections at Swanson Bark and Dust in 2013 and 2010.

While Arce's medical bills will be covered, his friends have set up a fundraising website to help with other expenses.

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