Worker killed on job was new to area


David J. Taylor, the employee of a medical-waste disposal company who was crushed in a machine at the firm's Curtis Bay incinerator Saturday, was described as a quiet man by neighbors who were just getting to know him in his new neighborhood.

Taylor, 41, was pronounced dead at his workplace, Phoenix Services Inc., shortly after the incident, which occurred about 11:40 a.m. Saturday. He lived alone in the 200 block of Old Riverside Road in Baltimore.

Next-door neighbors Nancy and George Couch said Taylor was still unpacking before he left for work Saturday. Taylor moved there last month, his landlord said.

Nancy Couch said Taylor had planned to see his son yesterday. Taylor talked about bow-hunting and possibly taking his son on a hunting trip to Canada, she said.

He worked "odd hours, mainly evenings," George Couch said, so the neighbors hadn't had a chance to get to know each other well.

"He seemed like a very nice person," Nancy Couch said.

Taylor moved to Old Riverside Road earlier this summer from McGuirk Drive in Glen Burnie.

Police released details yesterday about the incident. Taylor was atop a machine when a conveyor belt got stuck. When he tried to dislodge the belt with a stick, it started suddenly and pulled him inside, said police spokeswoman Angelique Cook-Hayes.

Cook-Hayes said the incident has been ruled a questionable death and the investigation, which includes the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration, continues.

Officials of Phoenix Services could not be reached for comment. "We're just trying to grieve right now," said an operator who answered the phone yesterday.

Phoenix Services has owned the incinerator in the 3200 block of Hawkins Point Road since 1994. It was approved in March 1997 to collect medical waste within a 250-mile radius. Curtis Bay and Brooklyn residents protested the City Council's decision, but council members concluded that the incinerator was environmentally sound and that hospitals that burn their own waste might not be.

Phoenix Services took over the incinerator from Medical Waste Associates in 1994, after that company filed for bankruptcy because of a lawsuit. Medical Waste Associates paid thousands of dollars to settle state charges that it illegally imported out-of-state waste.

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