Woman killed on smoke break

Smokers’ shed toppled by wind, rolls on top of two workers

From Mirror staff reports

An Altoona woman was killed Friday morning when a shed rolled on top of her and another co-worker outside their workplace.

Tammy Hockenberry, 47, was smoking a cigarette while on a break about 8:30 a.m. outside of Blair Companies Millwork and Fix­tures facility, 4100 Industrial Park Drive, when the wooden structure that she and a male co-worker were standing under was hit with a gust of wind and toppled over onto them, according to the Altoona Fire Department and Blair County Coroner Patricia Ross.

Ross said the wooden structure served as a smoker’s hut and that Hockenberry was permitted to be there to smoke. She said Hockenberry, who worked in the awning fabrication area, died of blunt force trauma.

Hockenberry’s co-worker, Bruno Allison, suffered leg and ankle injuries and is at UPMC Altoona in stable condition, according to Ross and a statement by Blair Com­panies.

Altoona Fire Chief Tim Hileman said firefighters were the first responders on the scene and cared for the injured woman until AMED arrived and took her by ambulance for medical treatment.

Firefighters stayed at the scene to help secure the structure, and Altoona police responded to investigate the incident, which the Blair Companies said has been reported to OSHA.

“We had to make sure the shed was secure and didn’t injure anyone else,” Hileman said, adding the incident was “very tragic.”

“The entire Blair family is devastated by this event,” a statement from Blair Companies read. “We have lost a valued and respected member of our team.

“She was always positive, friendly and willing to help in any way,” the statement said of Hockenberry, who had worked for Blair Companies for 2.5 years. “We all join her family in their grief.”