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UPDATED: One dead following explosion at pallet plant on Factory Street

Police cordoned off the yard of Holland Pallet Repair following an explosion that killed a maintenance worker. | Zachary Lawler/WWMT

A 45-year-old man was killed in a workplace explosion late Tuesday afternoon in Kalamazoo.

It happened around 2:30 p.m., at Holland Pallet Repair on factory street in Kalmazoo.

“It sounded like something large had fallen on the roof or something. It shook the house a bit,” said neighbor Geary North.

The sound of an explosion rocked the neighborhood by the Holland Pallet Repair facility this afternoon.

“It was a big boom, they said it was ear shattering, like ‘boom,’” said Richard Motycka, with AAA Performance. “It was all over when the explosion happened. I don't think he knew what hit him.”

Police and medics arrived to find a Holland Pallet maintenance worker unresponsive. They were unable to revive the 45-year-old man, who died on the scene.

A company employee tells Newschannel 3 the victim was trying to re-fill a tire on a front loader, when it exploded.

At this point, it's unclear how the explosion occurred, or what led to the death.

Gary Kingsbury, a former Holland Pallet employee, used to work on the front loader involved in the incident.

“They've had it years. And we've changed him. I've helped change them before. I air them up and everything,” Kingsbury said.

Richard Motycka, owns AAA Performance, next door to Holland Pallet. He says he knew the victim, and that he was homeless before recently getting hired at Holland Pallet Repair.

“He just started working here 2-3 weeks ago. He did general maintenance, and whatever the boss needed him to do,” Motycka said.

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