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Michael Fayne Chambers, Witness for the State


MR. PANOSH: Michael Chambers.

MICHAEL FAYNE CHAMBERS, being first duly sworn, testified as follows during DIRECT EXAMINATION by MR. PANOSH:

Q    Would you state your name, sir.

A    Michael Fayne Chambers.

Q    Mr. Chambers, going back to October the 9th of 1995, were you employed at Precision Fabrics?

A    Yes.

Q    And what position did you have at that time?

A    I was a shift lead man on the lamination department.

Q    Okay. When you speak, if you could speak loud enough so these folks down here can hear you. What was your position?

A    I was a lead man on the second shift in the lamination department.

Q    And in the course of your duties, did you know Theodore Kimble?

A    Yes.


Q    And was he scheduled to work on that particular night?

A    Yes.

Q    Did there come a time when you observed him there at Precision Fabrics --

A    On that --

Q    -- or when you saw him at Precision Fabrics?

A    Yes.

Q    Tell the jury about that, please.

A    And you're referring to the 9th?

Q    The night of the fire and --

A    Okay. I saw Ted coming in during a changeover that the machine was making, a process change. And at that time, most of the employees in that department were doing a changeover with the glue adhesives. When Ted entered the building, I was going to the office. I did not talk to him when he came in.

Q    And approximately what time was it that you saw him going in -- or coming into the business?

A    At roughly 6:00 o'clock.

Q    And after 6:00 o'clock on that particular night, did you see him again?

A    Yes.

Q    And describe the fact -- describe the circumstances under which you saw him, please.

A    It was one room -- the lamination is in one room, and


just going in and around the machine, I worked with Ted that night.

Q    Did there come a time when you were aware of the fact that he left?

A    Yes.

Q    What do you recall about that?

A    A call came in, and at that time, I was in the office. Doug Reed took the call. Was notified that his house was on fire. Doug told Ted that he could leave. Minutes after that, I came from the office, and I was notified that Ted had just left, due to his house being on fire.

Q    Had you seen him between those two occasions, in the evening? Had you seen him between 6:00 o'clock and the time you were notified he left?

A    Yes, on the machine.

Q    Did you have a conversation with him?

A    I'm sure we spoke, but I --

Q    And did you indicate the time that he left, approximately?

A    We kept -- the supervisors in the other departments kept it under glass, as being -- they listed hours daily. In our department, we didn't have a shift supervisor, so I entered the time in a log book.

Q    What time did he leave?

A    I can't remember.


Q    But it was after notification of the house fire?

A    Yes.

MR. PANOSH: No further questions.

(The witness began to leave the witness stand.)

THE COURT: Wait a minute, sir. Wait, sir. Cross-examination?


Q    Mr. Chambers, how old are you, sir?

A    28.

Q    And how long have you worked at Precision Fabrics?

A    I had been working there roughly a year, maybe a year and a half, when Ted started working.

Q    And you were working in the lamination department?

A    Yes.

Q    Is the machinery noisy there?

A    Doesn't require earplugs. It makes some noise from the drives and the rolls turning, but not real noisy.

Q    Can you hear people, your coworkers, if they use a normal tone of voice?

A    Yes.

Q    Is the work involving glues and laminates and chemicals likely to hurt your skin?

A    At temperature, it can hurt you.

Q    If you're working with heat?

A    Yes.


Q    It's very --

A    The glue has to be --

Q    I'm sorry.

A    The glue has to be brought up to a certain temperature, to be put onto the fabric, so just the heat of the glue is -- can be dangerous.

Q    Do you wear protective gloves?

A    Yes, during changeovers.

Q    Were you wearing those at that -- on that occasion?

A    When he entered the building, certain members that were changing from one style of glue to another, is required to wear safety glasses and gloves up to the elbow, and an apron that covers legs and chest.

Q    I notice that you're wearing a wristwatch. Do you wear a wristwatch when you're working?

A    Yes. Well, some --

Q    Were you able to see your wristwatch that -- on that particular shift?

A    Sir?

Q    Could you see -- did you have your watch on that --

A    Yes.

Q    -- day?

A    Yes.

Q    Did you actually look at either your clock, your watch or a clock, as Ted Kimble came into the business?


A    Yes.

Q    You did?

A    Yes.

Q    Did you write down anywhere what time he came in, since you were sort of acting in that capacity?

A    No, I don't write down a minute time, and they don't punch a clock.

Q    Then how do you know he came in at 6:00 p.m.?

A    I remember rough -- I remember what time we went down for the changeover, and actually, that time would be entered on the production sheet.

Q    So you're really being logical about it and thinking about when you -- he came in, in relationship to the work you were doing; is that right?

A    Yes.

Q    Is it possible he could have come in, say, at 6:15 or 6:20?

A    Yes.

Q    Do you know where he had been previously?

A    Yes.

Q    Where had he been?

A    I don't know for sure, but on that day, I knew Ted had scheduled to come in late.

Q    Do you know -- had he scheduled that with you?

A    Yes.


Q    Is that -- would it be right to say that you gave him permission to come in late?

A    Yes.

Q    Now, is there a gatekeeper or anybody or a guard for the outside of the plant, who keeps track of the comings and goings of people?

A    No.

Q    Is there any way, independent of your recollection, that we would know what time Ted Kimble came to work that night?

A    By the -- if the gate is working, somebody may have checked their time when they opened the gate, or if someone else saw him come in. But no records.

Q    Unfortunately, the gate was not working, was it?

A    No.

Q    So the only way that we know when Ted Kimble came to work that night is based on your recollection?

A    Mine and others in the area that were there.

Q    And yours is, it could have been 6:00, could have been 6:20?

A    6:00, 6:15, maybe a few minutes before 6:00.

Q    Did he -- could you tell anything about his appearance when he came in?

A    No. I mean, I saw him coming towards the machine, and he was dressed like normal. I was walking towards the


office at that time.

Q    Did he seem out of breath or excited?

A    No.

Q    Did he make any apologies for coming in late?

A    I didn't talk to him until maybe 20 minutes later.

Q    Did you smell the odor of gasoline on his clothes?

A    No.

Q    Did you see him leave the work site and go and use the telephone?

A    On that particular night, I can't remember.

Q    You did not see him on that particular night?

A    I can't remember. But he did use the phone on a daily basis in the break room.

Q    And do you think he used the phone excessively?

A    No. Normally on break.

Q    And that was fine --

A    Yes.

Q    -- as far as normal practices in that particular work site?

A    Yes.

MR. HATFIELD: All right. Thank you.

THE COURT: Step down, sir.

(The witness left the witness stand.)



Published August 15, 2006.  Report broken links or other problems.

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