A worker died under a pile of debris at the Shady Grove Transfer Station on Thursday. Credit: Via Pete Piringer

Police are conducting an investigation after a woman was found dead beneath a large pile of debris at the Shady Grove Waste Transfer Station in Derwood on Thursday, authorities said.

Police and fire and rescue personnel responded to the area at around 1:40 p.m. for the report of a person trapped under debris. When they arrived, Gladis Loren Melendrez Fuentes, 35, a worker at the recycling facility, was found dead.

Fuentes had been buried for about 15 minutes before she was extricated, county fire and rescue service spokesman Pete Piringer said. First responders couldn’t initially locate her, but determined her general whereabouts by the sound of her radio.

The station is at 16101 Frederick Road, just south of Shady Grove Road. Fuentes was found in a yard work area of the site, buried by tree stumps and other waste, Piringer said.

Detectives from the county’s Major Crimes Division are conducting a death investigation, but the incident “does not appear to be anything criminal-related,” police spokesman Rick Goodale said.

“This is a very difficult day,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement. “The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection is a part of a big family of County workers, and we are all affected by this tragic loss.”

Council President Nancy Navarro said in a statement the council will work with Elrich to “determine what caused this horrible incident.”

Charlie Wright can be reached at charlie.wright@bethesdamagazine.com