Federal investigators are probing the death of a teenage worker at an Aylmer feed mill.
Ryan Laarman, 18, died in a "mill accident" at Elgin Feeds Ltd. Wednesday morning, his employer wrote on social media.
Emergency crews were called to the business on Beech Street at around 10:45 a.m. after an employee working in a grain elevator fell down the shaft, Aylmer police said. He was taken to St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, where he later died.
Investigators with the Labour Program of Employment and Social Development Canada are probing the death, a spokesperson said Thursday.
Grain elevators, feed and seed mills, feed warehouses, and grain-seed cleaning plants are federally regulated.
Laarman was a Grade 12 student at St. Thomas Community Christian School and worked part time at Elgin Feeds for three years.
"Ryan was a bright light with a beaming personality who did his job with passion and enthusiasm," his employer wrote on Facebook.
Elgin Feeds owner Wilf Saarloos is Laarman's great uncle, a relative said.
Laarman's mother worked as a teacher at his school, and his father is a sergeant with Elgin OPP.
"An incident like this has a tremendous impact on the entire community and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the entire Laarman family," police spokesperson Const. Brett Phair wrote in an email.
Redemption Bible Chapel, a London church the Laarmans attend, is helping the family with funeral arrangements.
Aylmer's town council honoured the teen with a moment of silence at Wednesday evening's meeting.
"It's a terrible tragedy for the town, especially a young person like that," Mayor Jack Couckuyt said.
Laarman's death sparked an outpouring of condolences to the family and his coworkers on social media.
"A life taken way too soon. Sending prayers to all who knew Ryan," Bev McInnis wrote in response to Elgin Feeds post.
Santiago Escobar, a labour advocate and the national representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, said its critical workers know their health and safety rights.
"Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, it's the employer's responsibility to make sure that the workplace is free of any danger or any hazards," Escobar said.
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