An Orangeburg man died over the weekend when his weight-lifting equipment broke while no one else was home.

Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Coroner Sean Fogle identified the victim as 39-year-old Joseph Lee Williams Jr.

Fogle said an autopsy showed the Bill Salley Road man died of mechanical asphyxiation due to a failure in Williams’ weight-lifting equipment.

Witnesses said the weight bench had an estimated 500 to 600 pounds of weights on it at the time of Williams’ death.

Family members said they left the victim asleep at home around 10 a.m. Saturday. They assumed the man was still in bed when they returned about five hours later and found the doors still locked.

Once inside the home, family members found Williams on the weight bench with a weight bar across his stomach. They tried to lift it off but could not move the bar. They called for a neighbor to help.

Emergency crews were called but it was determined Williams had been deceased for some time.

Cordova firefighters said they arrived at the residence and lifted the weights from the man. He was placed on a bed when it was determined he had expired.

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