TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Manatee County deputies said they are investigating a man’s death after he was killed in an “industrial accident” Tuesday evening.
The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said that Waste Pro employee Leroy Firestone, 58, was performing maintenance on the hydraulics of a garbage truck.
Firestone was standing on a ladder when the “hydraulic blade/door” on the side of the truck closed on his head, according to the sheriff’s office.
“These are their worst fears is that somebody gets trapped while they are working on something like that, just horrible,” said Randy Warren, MCSO public information officer.
The worker died at the scene, deputies said.
Manatee County detectives interviewed the man’s coworkers and found that there was a miscommunication between Firestone and another employee while he was performing maintenance.
“The coworkers were very, very visibly upset, and the accounts of what happened were very consistent so detectives have every reason to believe, just as horrible as it is, that it is just a tragic industrial accident,” Warren said.
Waste Pro released a statement on Firestone’s death, saying it was a tragedy:
At Waste Pro, we’re family. This is an extremely difficult time for all of us. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our Waste Pros. Our thoughts and prayers are with our employees and their families during this time of mourning and reflection. We appreciate the responsiveness of the first responders and emergency teams and we will continue to cooperate with local authorities on this ongoing investigation.Waste Pro
Outside of his mechanic work for Waste Pro, Firestone was an artist and previously worked as a talk show host. He used to have an art gallery at Bradenton’s Village of the Arts.
Those who knew Firestone described him as a creative and kind individual.
“He looked like a biker kind of guy,” said David Shiplett, owner of the Birdrock Taco Shack in Village of the Arts. “He was as sweet as could be and is hard working and would help anybody and was always doing stuff in the village.”
Firestone’s wife is processing the sudden and tragic loss, but told 8 On Your Side Wednesday that her husband “was [her] everything.”