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Man who died in Skookumchuck Wind Farm trench collapse has been identified

Jonathan F. Stringer, 24, of Chehalis, was identified Monday as the man who died last week in a trench collapse, according to the Lewis County Coroner.

The trench work was tied to the construction of the Skookumchuck Wind Farm, a 38-turbine project that is largely in Lewis County.

The cause of death was mechanical asphyxiation; the manner of death was accidental, according to the coroner.

A second worker was trapped in the collapse, which happened about 11 a.m. Thursday, but he was rescued and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. That man was reported to be in satisfactory condition on Friday.

The state Department of Labor and Industries is investigating whether any operational violations took place that led to Stringer’s death, spokesman Frank Ameduri said Monday.

L&I already has three open investigations with three businesses that have ties to the project: Aerotek Inc., RES America Construction Inc. and Southern Power. A fourth investigation also could be opened with an RES America subsidiary, he said.

The overall investigation is expected to take about six months, Ameduri said.

The Chronicle in Centralia reports the wind farm is in contract to produce energy for Puget Sound Energy for 20 years.