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Dairy worker killed in skylight fall identified

A dairy worker who fell through a skylight at the T & M Borba Dairy in Hilmar and died from his injuries has been identified.

Bulmaro Contreras, 39, was working Monday afternoon with another worker on top of the milking house at the Mitchell Road dairy. The two workers were repairing a skylight when Contreras stumbled and fell through another skylight, falling 20 feet and landing on his head.

Contreras was pronounced dead by paramedics at the dairy after the 3:37 p.m. accident. His next-of-kin has been notified.

Deputy Tom MacKenzie, Merced County Sheriff’s Department spokesman, said the other worker saw Contreras fall through the skylight.

The California State Department of Industrial Relations is investigating the accident. Katie McGuire, spokeswoman for the department, said that investigators have been to the dairy to see if there were any violations of the safety code, and what could have contributed to the accident.

The investigation will take about two to three months, McGuire said.

Fatalities have plagued the dairy industry in Merced County during the past few years. In February of 2001, Enrique Araiza and Jose Alatorre both drowned in cow manure at the bottom of a sump pump, used to move waste out of dairy barns into manure lagoons, at the Aguiar-Faira and Sons Dairy in Gustine. Both men were overcome by methane gas that had gathered at the bottom of 30-foot pit.

Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or creiter@mercedsun-star.com

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