LODD: La. paramedic killed when ambulance falls off maintenance rack

A second EMT was injured in the incident that occurred at the West Jefferson EMS headquarters

Duty Death: Brian Shepler - [Marrero, Louisiana]

End of Service: 02/11/2016

MARRERO, La. — Paramedic Brian Shepler, 44, died Wednesday after a mechanic's rack failed, causing an ambulance to fall on him.

The incident, at the West Jefferson Emergency Medical Services Headquarters, injured a second EMT, 37, reported NOLA.com.

Two EMTs and a mechanic were working on the ambulance in a mechanics shop when the rack gave way, said JPSO spokesman John Fortunato.

"The vehicle collapsed on its side under the rack," Fortunato said. "One guy gets pinned, the other guy gets injured as well."

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said the mechanic, 34, was not injured.

14 News reported the ambulance was lifted off the EMT. He was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Shepler's cause of death was compression asphyxia. 

"The weight of the vehicle compressed, and (he) couldn't manipulate the diaphragm to open and close his lungs," said Mark Bone, chief death investigator with the coroner's office.

The injured EMT has not been indentified.

"Well to be honest with you, there was a lot of emotion, as you can well imagine, with the number of EMT technicians that were present," Fortunato said.  "Whether they were going to work, coming to work, once they received word that one of their coworkers was involved in this accident and needless to say was killed, they became very emotional and very upset as you can imagine."

Fortunato said he did not know how far the ambulance fell or whether there are regular inspections in the facility. 

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