In a tragic incident, the owner of a cheese factory in northern Italy lost his life after being crushed by 15,000 wheels of cheese. Giacomo Chiapparini, aged 74, was killed when a 30-foot-high shelf in the warehouse collapsed, causing the cheese rounds to cascade onto him. It took firefighters approximately 12 hours to remove the heavy wheels of grana Padano cheese and recover Chiapparini’s body.
The freak accident occurred in the town of Romano di Lombardia, where authorities reported that a domino effect caused thousands of pounds of cheese to come crashing down. Each wheel of the hard cheese weighed around 40 pounds. Chiapparini had arrived at the facility along with his son Tiziano to address an alarm signal from a machine cleaning the stored cheese wheels.
After solving the issue, Tiziano left while his father restarted the machine. Moments later, a loud noise alerted Tiziano to look back, only to witness his father buried under an avalanche of cheese. The tragedy could have claimed both their lives if Tiziano had stayed a few seconds longer.
The president of the Bergamo agricultural district, Bortolo Ghislotti, estimated that the accident caused damages worth approximately $7.7 million. This includes not only the loss of Chiapparini’s cheese but also the destruction of the cleaning equipment. To prevent further losses, local cheesemakers are coordinating efforts to transfer Chiapparini’s cheese to alternate temperature-controlled storage areas before it spoils.
Chiapparini, survived by his wife, children, and grandchildren, had been operating his cheesemaking business since the late 1970s. He would produce around 15,000 wheels of grana Padano cheese annually, aged between 12 and 70 months, using milk from cows raised at his factory.