A Machias blueberry grower has been ordered to pay nearly $730,000 to a worker who nearly died of heatstroke during an operation to burn a blueberry field in 2012, according to the law firm that represented the worker.

The Grower, Millard A. Whitney & Sons Inc., had assigned Michael Lund, 38, a seasonal farm worker from Machias, to help burn a field on an 85-degree day, according to a statement by Berman & Simmons, which represented Lund.

Burning fields spurs future growth.

Lund, who had never helped burn a field, was given insulated coveralls and told to walk behind a burning machine.

After working into the afternoon, Lund lost consciousness and was rushed to a hospital, where his body temperature was measured at 108 degrees. He was eventually transported via LifeFlight to the intensive care unit at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

He developed rhabdomyolysis, a condition that resulted in permanent damage to Lund’s legs and right shoulder.

Attorneys for Lund argued that Whitney & Sons failed to protect Lund from heatstroke by not providing employees with basic training on recognizing the condition’s symptoms.

The judgment for $729,845 covers medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and permanent impairment.

The decision from Justice William Anderson was announced Wednesday after a five-day bench trial held in Bangor in September.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.