Whitewater quarry installing fence around perimeter

 

Whitewater Limestone Inc., co-owned by BR Amon & Sons, Inc., is constructing a fence around the property following the deaths of two UW-Whitewater students.

The quarry, located on Highway 12 and North Franklin Street, is a privately owned, non-metallic mining business.  The state of Wisconsin allows privately owned non-metallic mines to secure their property how they see fit.

“The state of Wisconsin does not require quarries to place a fence around any side of their premises,” Tom Woletz, senior manager of special projects for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said. “They only have to have visible signs stating ‘No Trespassing.’”

Whitewater Limestone Inc. currently has only partial fencing, thick and heavy brush and signs warning people not to trespass.

In May of 2011, Mark Wegener was found dead in the quarry.

Benjamin Fuder was found on July 29, 2012 at the bottom of the quarry. Fuder’s case is still being investigated by Walworth County.

Whitewater Limestone Inc. is about one and a half miles from the UW-Whitewater campus. Because of the distance, BR Amon & Sons, Inc. owners said it never thought students would venture out to their quarry.

Donald Palmer, BR Amon & Sons, Inc.’s safety director, said the two deaths were surprising to the company, who thought that the heavy brush would be enough to deter students.

“The natural fence that there is, is very thick and it should be in any reasonable time adequate to keep people out,” Palmer said. “It’s dense enough that you could not walk through it. You would have to back through it in places, you would have to be on your hands and knees, and that would be majority of the area around the quarry.”

BR Amon & Sons, Inc. plan on placing fences around the perimeter to keep people away from the property.

“I don’t for a minute think that somebody wandered over that edge,” Palmer said. “It’s not an area where that would happen.”

According to Palmer, people need to stay away from quarries for any reason.

“I think all people should realize that a mine or a quarry is dangerous, and there are hazards there that people don’t recognize,” Palmer said. “There are hazards there that people should stay away from, especially if they haven’t been trained.”

Whitewater Limestone Quarry is constantly drained and has no standing water. Swimming is not an option at the operational quarry.

Palmer said quarries and mines are not areas to play around in. BR Amon & Sons, Inc. owners said it plans to have the whole quarry fenced by winter of 2012.

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