A six-year-old boy who wanted to help his father clear timber ended up losing his life due to his altruistic urge, in one of the more gruesome recent tragedies. Jeffrey Bourgeoiff, who was helping his father throw branches into a wood chipper, decided to throw a few branches in himself while his father’s back was turned. The result was that tiny Jeffrey was sucked into the wood chipper.
New York’s local CBS affiliate has the rest:
The father had his back turned, and when the boy tried to assist his father by putting a branch into the chipper, he was sucked into the machine, Vance said.
The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Vance said the accident was so horrific that grief counselors were called to the scene to help first responders and the boy’s family.
Reportedly, Jeffrey’s two older siblings were also helping, raising the question of how Jeffrey managed to evade notice long enough for this truly terrifying accident to happen. There is video of the first responders on scene, and even the policeman taking the report looks rattled:
The Associated Press has also reported on the story, noting that Jeffrey Bourgeoiff was a first-grader at Salem Elementary School, where he was honored in the school newsletter with a “Caught Being Good” award in December.
Jeffrey and his family also enjoyed running in road races. In the Salem Kids 1 Mile Race in April 2011, he finished 45th with a time of 12:32, according to thelastmileracing.com.
The town’s fire chief, Eugene Maiorano, was the first emergency responder to the accident.
“We’re getting counseling for the family,” Maiorano told WTNH-TV. “The family lives right across the street from me so I was the first on the scene. Saw that we had basically kept everybody away.”
Salem First Selectman Kevin Lynden called Tuesday “a very, very sad day for our Salem residents. This was a Salem family, very good family in town, a well-known family. Our hearts and prayers go out to them.”
The interim superintendent of Salem schools, Kaye Griffin, said a school would open during vacation week to provide counseling to students accompanied by parents. She said the school system is also developing plans to offer counseling for students and staff members when classes resume next week.