Spc. Karolina Ferrer-Padilla “was killed instantly” when a containerized kitchen fell on her at about 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, according to a preliminary loss report from the Army Combat Readiness Center, which investigates fatal accidents.
Such reports are intended as educational tools that “allow leaders an opportunity to communicate risk at the Soldier level,” according to the center.
The 20-year-old fueler from Puerto Rico was “lowering [the kitchen] during a tire change...[and] removing one of the jack stands” when the kitchen “tipped over approximately 90-degrees” and crushed her, according to the release. She was “unable to get clear” because she was standing on an icy surface.
Containerized kitchens are mobile kitchens that stow into a 20-foot container mounted on a trailer chassis. They’re so heavy that they require a five-ton cargo truck to haul.
JBER first responders declared her dead at the scene of the accident, the report said.
Ferrer-Padilla, who joined the Army in 2019, was assigned to the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, part of the 25th Infantry Division’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Her individual decorations and badges included an Army Achievement Medal and the Parachutist Badge.
Her battalion commander, Lt. Col. Justin Pritchard, described the “joy and inspiration” she brought to her colleagues in a January press release.
“Spc. Ferrer-Padilla was a dedicated professional, loving wife, and faithful friend,” the commander said. “The Oak Battalion and Spartan Brigade grieve alongside her family and friends and offer our sincere condolences.”
Army Alaska officials initially declined to release further details about the incident, citing the ongoing investigations into the mishap’s causes.
According to the loss report, Ferrer-Padilla was the first soldier to die in an “industrial/occupational” mishap in fiscal 2022. The service typically loses one solder per year to such accidents, the report stated.
At least one other soldier has died in an on-duty accident this fiscal year — Pfc. Patrick Hernandez of the 16th Military Police Brigade died in a Humvee crash on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in October.
Davis Winkie covers the Army for Military Times. He studied history at Vanderbilt and UNC-Chapel Hill, and served five years in the Army Guard. His investigations earned the Society of Professional Journalists' 2023 Sunshine Award and consecutive Military Reporters and Editors honors, among others. Davis was also a 2022 Livingston Awards finalist.