Dairy farmer killed by thousands of cheese wheels in freak accident

In a devastating incident at a cheese warehouse in northern Italy, a 74-year-old dairy farmer lost his life when thousands of wheels of hard parmesan-style formaggio collapsed on top of him. The owner of the Chiapparini cheese-making company, Giacomo Chiapparini, was using a machine to rotate and clean the cheese wheels when the shelves holding them suddenly buckled, resulting in a catastrophic domino effect. The massive storehouse, filled with 25,000 cheese wheels, was left in ruins, burying Chiapparini under the weight of the fallen wheels.

The accident occurred in the town of Romano di Lombardia near Bergamo. An employee who was outside the warehouse at the time heard a loud noise and immediately called for help. Firefighters and police officers responded quickly to the scene, where they discovered the immense challenge of digging through the fallen cheese wheels to reach Chiapparini. It took them 12 hours of relentless effort, aided by K-9 dogs, to finally locate his body.

The cause of the accident is still unknown. However, Bortolo Ghislotti, president of the local agricultural district, suggested that a malfunction in the machine used to clean the cheese may have been a contributing factor. As a result of this tragic incident, Chiapparini’s family now faces a race against time to salvage the remaining cheese wheels and transfer them to neighboring climate-controlled warehouses before they spoil in the summer heat.

Ghislotti expressed the family’s deep shock and disbelief, stating that they are struggling to comprehend what happened. He also mentioned that they are seeking a colleague who can accommodate the wheels of cheese, which would otherwise have to be discarded. The economic damage resulting from the accident is estimated to be around $7.7 million, including the cost of the machine that was destroyed in the collapse.

Giacomo Chiapparini had been producing the popular grana padano cheese since 2006. His company, situated on over 24 acres of land, encompassed stables, warehouses, milking facilities, and a ship. A neighbor described him as a dedicated man who worked tirelessly day and night to support his family. In addition to his wife and children, Chiapparini leaves behind young grandchildren.