Man killed in ‘terrible tragedy’ when dumpster fell

Officials on the scene of a fatal dumpster accident. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—A Massachusetts man was killed when a dumpster fell on him while it was being unloaded into the rear of a garbage truck the morning of October 24.

Hudson Police received a call from Columbia County 911 at 11:21 a.m. that day, reporting that the Greenport Rescue Squad (GRS) was dispatched to the area of the 200 block of Long Alley for a dumpster that had fallen on top of a man at that location.

All available Hudson Police units responded to the scene to assist Greenport Rescue Squad. Officer Kevin Keyser and GRS attempted lifesaving measures, including CPR without success. The victim, Brett Cathline, 55, of Ashley Falls, MA, an employee of the Barbato disposal company in Hillsdale, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses told detectives that it appeared the dumpster dropped onto the victim as it was being lowered from a truck.

Describing the accident as “a terrible tragedy,” Police Chief L. Edward Moore told The Columbia Paper this week, that the unloading of the dumpster was a two-man operation, both men were outside the truck, one operating the winch hoisting the dumpster, the other guiding it at the rear of the truck. He could not say the cause of the accident as it is still under investigation.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was notified of the work accident.


Columbia County 911 dispatched Churchtown firefighters and the Greenport Rescue Squad to the scene of a structure fire at 7 Old Route 27, October 18 at 8:50 p.m.

Additionally, AB Shaw (Claverack), Greenport, Mellenville, Philmont and the Taghkanic fire departments were called to supply mutual aid.

“With a swift response and collaboration between fire departments the resident was assisted safely from the residence, and the fire was contained to the interior of the house,” according to a post on the Churchtown company’s Facebook page. The company thanked “our wonderful 911 dispatchers who got every department there.”

State Police, Sheriff’s deputies and Columbia County Fire Coordinators assisted on scene. National Grid was requested to the scene. Fire officials reported that the blaze was started by a candle.

Volunteers from the Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross provided immediate emergency aid to one person after the fire. The Red Cross provided financial assistance, which can be used for necessities such as shelter, food, and clothing, to one adult.

Firefighters were back in service 10:34 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

Columbia County Jury convicts rapist

HUDSON—A Columbia County Jury convicted defendant Juan Diego Cruz of first degree rape, second degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child, according to an October 24 press release from District Attorney Paul Czajka.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office charged Mr. Cruz, 28, of Mexico, December 2019 in the village of Chatham.

The jury deliberated for four hours before reaching its guilty verdict.

Judge Richard McNally will sentence Mr. Cruz at a later date. The defendant faces up to 25 years in prison.

Chief ADA James Carlucci prosecuted the case.

In the release, DA Czajka commended the victim, saying, “The survivor in this case displayed tremendous courage in coming forward and then testifying. Due to her perseverance and the jury’s thoughtful deliberation, justice was served. I also commend Sheriff Donald Krapf’s deputies for their hard work and compassion.”

Defense Attorney Dennis Schlenker represents the defendant.

Hudson alums graduate State Police Basic School

Joshua A. Torchia, class of 2013

Darian A. Blanks, class of 2014.

HUDSON—The Hudson City School District announced that alumni Joshua A. Torchia, ‘13 and Darian A. Blanks, ‘14, successfully completed Basic School at the New State Police Academy and graduated, October 19.

“It is incredibly important to acknowledge the hard work and dedication Mr. Torchia and Mr. Blanks have displayed thus far to graduate from the New York State Police Academy’s Basic School, and those same traits that will need to be carried over to follow through with their duties,” Superintendent Dr. Lisamarie Spindler said in a press release. “We as a district are proud that these two individuals will continue to wear the title of ‘alumni of Hudson Senior High School’ with pride, respect and accountability in their roles of protecting and serving our local communities.”

In addition to graduating, Mr. Torchia, who holds a Master of Science degree in accounting from Siena College and was a former Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputy for three years, received the Academic Achievement Award upon his graduation at the top of his class of 218 graduates with an overall average of 97.25%.

“As a special incentive for all students attending the State Police Academy Basic School, the superintendent (Steven A. Nigrelli) sponsors the awarding of a firearm for the attainment of the highest level of academic performance during academy training,” Governor Kathy Hochul’s press office said in a statement.

According to the Governor’s office, both Trooper Torchia and Trooper Blanks will be working in Troop K in Salt Point, Dutchess County.

Keep fire safety in mind as Halloween creeps closer

GHENT—Halloween is a “boo-tiful” time of year, full of spooky celebrations and activities, but it also presents some real and scary fire safety hazards. As the holiday nears, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) encourages everyone to take simple precautions that can help ensure the holiday remains festively fun.

“As more people plan to celebrate the holiday this year, whether it be trick-or-treating or costume parties, we want everyone to know where potential fire risks exist so they can take the steps needed to minimize them,” Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA, said in a press release.

According to NFPA, an annual average of 770 home structure fires began with decorations between 2014 and 2019, resulting in one civilian fire death, 26 civilian fire injuries and $13 million in direct property damage. More than two of every five (44%) of these fires occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source, such as a candle or hot equipment.

NFPA offers these tips and guidelines for enjoying a fire-safe Halloween:

*Decorations: Many common decorations like cornstalks, crepe paper, and dried flowers are very flammable. Keep these and similar decorations far away from any open flames or heat sources, like candles, heaters, and light bulbs

*Candles: Using candles as decoration can be risky if not done correctly. Keep them in a well- attended area out of the path of potential trick-or-treaters. Remind children of the dangers of open flames, and make sure they are always supervised when candles are lit. Extinguish candles before leaving an area

*Jack-o-lanterns: Glow sticks or electric candles are the safest choice when it comes to lighting up your jack-o-lantern, but if you choose to use a real candle, do so with extreme caution. Light a candle inside a jack-o-lantern using long fireplace matches or a utility lighter and keep it away from other decorations

Comments are closed.