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Vt. authorities continue to investigate W. Stewartstown man's death in Ethan Allen plant accident

By JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent

December 15. 2017 12:45PM

BRUCE BIRON 



BEECHER FALLS, Vt. — While family and friends mourn the late Bruce Biron, Vermont officials continue to investigate how the West Stewartstown man died in an industrial accident at the Ethan Allen furniture plant.

Vermont State Police Det. Darren Annis said emergency workers from Vermont and Colebrook were called to the factory at 3:35 p.m. Dec. 13, where Biron, 55, a 25-year employee died while “performing maintenance on machinery within a silo.”

Biron suffered unspecified injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy is pending although his death appears to have been caused by an accident, officials said.

A representative of the Vermont Department of Labor said Friday the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also is investigating.

Rick Samson, a Coos County commissioner and Stewartstown resident, said Biron’s death has shaken people in New Hampshire’s North Country and in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

He said Biron was a longtime friend and a lifelong resident of the North Country, who comes from a large family known on both sides of the Connecticut River.

Whenever something happened in the Biron family, its members would turn to Bruce, said Samson.

“And he was the same way at the factory. His talents went far beyond” doing maintenance at Ethan Allen, Samson said. “He’s a tremendous mechanic who could build anything from anything and he was working on a trailer of mine when they lost their house in a fire a couple years ago.”

“He just did everything for everybody,” said Samson.

Even though he was a part-time mechanic, Biron was much in demand, Samson said.

“If you needed something fixed, you had to wait in line. I can’t remember a time that I’ve been to his garage when there wasn’t something being worked on.”

A husband and a father of two — a college freshman and a high-school student, 16 — Biron also could be “a prankster,” said Samson.

“Unfortunately, people like him are hard to find today. He was from the old school,” Samson said.

Mark Towle of Towle’s Mini Mart in West Stewartstown, considered Biron a dear friend.

“Everybody is pretty much heartbroken, that’s the best way to put it. It’s just such a tragedy,” he said.

Biron was “a very giving person,” Towle said. “He would help any person who needed any sort of help. He was the best.”

The Jenkins & Newman Funeral Home in Colebrook said funeral arrangements have not been finalized. An obituary will be published soon, they said.

An online memorial page posted by the funeral home has been filled with outpourings of support for Biron’s family.

“May you find comfort in the memories you each hold of Bruce and know he now rests in the comfort of God's arms,” wrote Mary Proulx.

John and Sue Morrissey added, “RIP Mr. Bruce, you are going to (be) missed by many.”

Renald and Lynn Mathieu called Biron “a great man and a friend” who was a devoted husband and father. Guy Laperle remembered him as a “great fun guy, caring in conversation” and someone who enjoyed spending time at school athletic events.

“Competitive, kind. Will be missed. God help the Family, friends in healing the pain,” the comment said.


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