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Boy, 6, killed in wood chipper mishap

This news story was published on April 11, 2012.
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By Christine Dempsey, The Hartford Courant –

SALEM, Conn. — A 6-year-old died Tuesday morning after he was pulled into a wood chipper.

The accident, which was witnessed by two of the boy’s siblings, happened about 8:45 a.m., said Lt. J. Paul Vance, state police spokesman.

Jeffrey Bourgeois and two older siblings were with their father, Scott Bourgeois, clearing land on Brookside Drive. The father had turned to gather brush when the boy was pulled into the machine, he said.

The Bourgeois family lives in Salem but does not live on the street, Vance said.

Scott Bourgeois owns C & S Tree Removal LLC, according to state records. The family is well known in town, First Selectman Kevin Lyden said.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to them,” said Lyden.

School officials at Salem School, where Jeffrey Bourgeois was a first-grader, were taken back by the news on Tuesday.

“We’re sort of all in shock,” said School Superintendent Kaye Griffin. “The teachers and the board are quite upset.”

Students are on spring break. However, the school is opening from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for one-on-one or group counseling, she said.

“Our plan is to provide counseling services for students and their parents,” Griffin said.

The school also has planned counseling for next week.

Salem Fire Chief Gene Maiorano, who lives in the neighborhood, was the first responder. A helicopter was called to the scene to fly the child to a hospital, but authorities say the call was canceled.

Based on a preliminary review of the scene, Vance said the incident appears to be “a horrible, tragic accident.”

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