The saw mill was water powered with a line shaft running on the ceiling full length of mill, from this, pulleys and belts, ran all the saws and conveyors. As a log came in on a dolly it passed by a 48 inch saw and a slab was taken off one side, the log was turned to rest on the flat side and by another dolly passed a Gang saw blade that cut it up, into either 1 inch or 2 inch planks. As these fell off they dropped on a conveyor and went to another saw were the edges were sawed off- then out the door to a yard crew that stacked them to air dry. This operation created a lot of waste material -saw dust and slabs with bark edges. Running below the saws was a series of conveyors that carried these waste items to the main belt this went out the side of the building in a 300 ft long conveyor, two ft wide, to a point about 30 ft above the ground. At the top, as the chain went over a pulley, it dropped the load into a huge pit that was kept burning continually, to get rid of the scrap, several foot deep and about 30 ft around of burning wood. The photo is a
modern conveyor, presently the scrap material is not burned.
Philip's job was to watch the dozen or so small conveyors to be
sure the material was not falling off and was dropping on the main
belt. You can imagine the noise inside this building with a dozen
or more saw blades wining through the logs, plus the noise of the
belts and drive lines.
Some how Philips jacket got caught on the main conveyor. His
cries for help could not be heard, he was carried out the door, up
the ramp incline-just before he reached the top, the fire tender saw him coming-his attempt to shut down the chain driven belt was hopeless and Philip was dropped into the burning pit, with saw dust and slab wood. According to newspaper article, by the time they could get him out all of his clothing was burned off, he probably died within seconds, burning sawdust and slabs would ignite immediately when they hit the burning mass.