PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Cold Stone Creamery employee at the Corvallis location was severely injured on March 15 when a machine removed three of her fingers, her former coworkers say.
Former Cold Stone manager and Corvallis resident Abigail Thomas told KOIN 6 News that 21-year-old Jordyn Martin was wiping down one of the businesses’ ice cream machines with a rag when a rotor suddenly pulled the rag, and her right hand, into the machine.
“There was blood splatter all over the store, including the remnants of the fingers,” Thomas said.
Thomas shut down the store and rushed Martin to an emergency hospital located a few minutes away from the Cold Stone location. Upon arriving at the hospital, doctors asked that someone retrieve Martin’s missing pointer, middle and ring fingers in an effort to reattach them. Cold Stone employee Emily Kilpatrick told KOIN 6 that she accepted the duty of retrieving Martin’s dismembered digits from the machine and delivered them to the hospital. However, the fingers were unable to be saved, a GoFundMe page set up for Martin states.
“The rag had pulled her hand in, so that rag wrapped around her fingers and pulled her fingers off until there was pummeled bone and blood all inside of the machine,” Kilpatrick said. “The fingers were wrapped in the mangled rag.”
Thomas said the traumatic injury was the result of an ongoing lack of safety training provided at Cold Stone Creamery’s Corvallis location, 2350 NW 9th Street.
“We were never trained on safety protocols at this Cold Stone,” she said. “The few times that our bosses came out, they just told us that our stores looked great. We didn’t know that the machine we were using was even capable of doing something like that. We thought it was completely safe to use and to clean, even when running.”
Martin, Thomas and Kilpatrick immediately quit their jobs in response to the incident, citing unsafe work conditions and a lack of concern from management. Despite the serious nature of the injury, Thomas said that her managers seemed more concerned with reopening the store than the well-being of their injured employee.
“They didn’t even ask if she was OK first,” Thomas said. “Their follow-up question was basically: ‘Who are you going to get in to reopen the store?’ If the owners handled the situation with our co-worker differently, maybe it would have been different with the employees quitting.”
In addition to their safety concerns, the former employees said they also had ethical issues with serving customers ice cream from the same machine that severed Martin’s fingers.
“They’re still serving ice cream out of the machine after sanitizing it,” Kilpatrick said.
Oregon OSHA spokesperson Aaron Corvin confirmed with KOIN 6 News there is an active investigation related to an amputation accident at the Corvallis Cold Stone Creamery. However, Corvin said he is unable to provide additional details while the case remains open.
Cold Stone Creamery’s parent company Kahala Brands responded to a KOIN 6 News request for comment about the workplace injury. Kahala Brands Vice President of Public Relations Jessica Benedick said the company is aware of the incident and that it is investigating the issue.
“We are aware of the unfortunate accident that occurred in a Corvallis, Oregon store and are investigating the matter further,” Benedick said. “We care about the well-being of all employees and are committed to prioritizing workplace safety, as well as supporting all our franchisees in doing the same in the restaurants they own and operate.”
The GoFundMe page set up for Martin has raised more than $5,000, so far. The charity states the funds will help the aspiring artist pay her bills while she recovers and learns to use her left, non-primary hand.
“Unfortunately, this is going to take some time, but she can’t work, and this was her dominant hand,” the GoFundMe page states. “She still has bills to pay and car payments to make that don’t stop just because she lost her fingers. She did have a surgery but by the time the fingers made it to the hospital it was too late, and they were too mangled to reattach. If you can help in any way, it would be greatly appreciated.”
Martin’s attorney Sean Burt declined to comment on the incident at this time. However, he said that Martin has filed a workers’ compensation claim in response to the injury.