Authorities say a man was crushed by falling debris and buried under rubble. Another man was sent to the hospital with complaints of chest pains.
By Matt Skoufalos
UPDATE (8:57 p.m., June 20, 2014) – OSHA says the man killed in the accident was a day laborer who had been working for a subcontractor with a history of safety violations. Its investigation into both the contractor of record on the demolition job and the subcontractor, is ongoing.
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An accident at a Cherry Hill construction site has left one man dead and sent another to the hospital Friday afternoon.
Cherry Hill Fire Director Patrick Kelly said that falling debris struck and then buried a worker at the site of a former Blockbuster Video store that was being cleared to make way for a Super Wawa on Route 38.
Investigators from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and OSHA were on the scene in the late afternoon Friday, as the victim’s remains were transported offsite by the Office of the Medical Examiner.
Technical rescue units from the Camden and Cherry Hill Fire Departments responded to the scene at 12:34 p.m., Kelly said.
There they discovered a backhoe operator who was “shaken up,” Kelly said, and complaining of chest pains. He was transported to a nearby hospital.
Although crews arrived within four minutes of receiving the 9-1-1 call, they soon realized they were dealing with a recovery, and not a rescue situation, he said.
Kelly said the victim was struck by debris from the building, knocked partially into a five-foot hole, and was buried.
No cause of death has been determined, but Kelly said that from the look of the scene, the victim may have died from the impact of the debris.
“You’ve got metal footing, bar joists, block,” he said.
Kelly added that authorities believe a third worker was also on the scene at the time of the accident.
None of their names have been released by authorities pending notification of their families and the ongoing nature of the investigation.
When asked whether he could recall a similar incident at a construction site, Kelly said, “It’s happening in a lot of places.
“[The job] was permitted properly,” Kelly said. “Whatever happened, that’s going to come out of the investigation.”
Permits for the work were issued to Carl Pursell, Inc., of Berlin, NJ, which bid $29,200 for the demolition of the 7,400 square-foot property, according to township documents. No representative of the company was available for comment Friday afternoon.
After the removal of the body and identification of the victim, the next task for authorities is to secure the scene overnight, Kelly said.
Stick with NJ Pen for further updates.