Union Democrat staff

A Sierra Pacific Industries worker was killed Monday evening in an accident at the Sonora Lumber Mill in Standard.

Tuolumne County Sheriff's Deputy Coroner Rob Lyons confirmed area resident Ron Billings, 25, died at the SPI mill on Standard Road.

Family members of mill employees said Billings was killed in an accident involving a piece of equipment, but Lyons could not confirm the nature of the man's death pending an investigation by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

Sheriff's deputies and emergency personnel were called to the scene shortly before 7:20 p.m. after reports of an industrial accident at the mill.

A guard was posted outside the mill to block unauthorized visitors as emergency vehicles and a funeral home van entered the large mill complex. Representatives of SPI could not be reached for comment early today.

Heuton Memorial Chapel is handling the funeral arrangements for Billings.

Formerly known as the Standard Mill, the SPI facility was reopened last year after a two-year hiatus following the economic downturn in 2009. SPI spent $15 million to upgrade the mill and improve another mill in Chinese Camp.

The mill employs more than 120 full- and part-time workers.

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