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Staff file photo by Doug Strickland / A molding machine pours molten metal into sand casts at Lodge Manufacturing on June 29, 2016, in South Pittsburg, Tenn. An employee was killed March 8, 2021, in an accident at the plant, according to Lodge officials.

A Lodge Cast Iron employee was killed Monday in an accident at the company's distribution center in New Hope, Tennessee, according to officials.

The employee, who was not identified by name, died in a "tragic accident" Monday evening at the distribution facility built in 2017 across the Tennessee River from the manufacturing plant in South Pittsburg, company officials said in a statement issued by spokesperson Adam Feltman.

"We are greatly saddened by the devastating news of this tragic event. At Lodge, our employees are valued members of our team and our Lodge family," Lodge president and CEO Mike Otterman said in the statement. "We will do what Lodge does, we will take care of the family during this difficult time and we are committed to being as transparent as possible and share information as we can. This is a significant loss and we extend our deepest sympathies to our colleague's family, friends and coworkers during this time."

Lodge has worked with authorities since they arrived on the scene Monday night and "a thorough investigation is underway," Feltman's statement said. "The family has been notified of the accident and the Lodge Human Resources department is providing support and ongoing counsel for all employees during this challenging time."

Marion County Mayor David Jackson, a longtime former Lodge employee, said the tragedy was a heavy blow to the whole community.

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Staff file photo by Tim Barber / The new Lodge distribution warehouse in New Hope, Tenn., is shown here during construction in February 2017. The facility is Marion County's largest building.

"I've spent 34 years down there and we never had anything this tragic, and I don't know if there's ever been a fatality at Lodge before," he said Tuesday.

Jackson said the employee was a strong supporter of his community and a member of local volunteer emergency services.

"It's been devastating to the Lodge team from the top down," he said. "Everyone in the community, we're very sad about it."

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.

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