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Texas worker dies in vacant building ceiling collapse

A 28-year-old Dallas man died on the morning of July 10 while he was working in a vacant Haltom City building. The former Hawk Electronics building was undergoing an interior demolition before being remodeled by its new owners. Reportedly the ceiling collapsed on top of the man. According to the local fire chief, part of the floor of the second story came down on the man, burying him under concrete and steel. He had to be dug out of the heavy debris but was pronounced dead on the scene. Two other workers in the former Hawk Electronics building sustained minor injuries. They both declined medical treatment.

The owner of the building next door said that scrap-metal workers had been demolishing the building, which will be the new headquarters of Blackmon Mooring, for approximately two months. Blackmon Mooring does building restoration and remediation. According to a spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency believes that the three men who were working in the building were brothers. OSHA is still investigating the cause of the incident. The men were working for a subcontractor employed by the general contractor hired to destroy the building’s interior, according for an executive with Blackmon Mooring. The company says that before work continues on the building, they will have structural engineers inspect it to make sure that it is safe. Demolition work by its very nature involves a certain amount of risk. Nonetheless, companies who specialize in this work are still required to take precautions to protect the safety of the people who do this work. OSHA is the federal agency that enforces laws that protect worker safety and investigates workplace accidents. The results of their investigations may help Texas victims and surviving family members determine whether civil legal action, such as a wrongful death suit, should be pursued.

Source: Star-Telegram, "Worker killed in ceiling collapse at Haltom City building," July 11, 2014.

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