(Updated Tuesday morning.) A steel beam collapsed at a building under construction at Science Park, injuring four workers, one of whom was pinned to the ground, in the second accident there in about a month.
One of the workers died. One was listed in “critical condition,” a third “serious,” said Yale-New Haven Hospital spokesman Mark D’Antonio.
The collapse was reported at 10:10 a.m. Monday at 275 Winchester Ave., by the corner of Division.
Workers from Shawmut Construction are building a chiller plant there to cool other buildings on the Yale campus. They’re currently erecting steel beams for the frame on the third floor.
One of those beams somehow collapsed Monday morning and hit a cherry picker on the ground.
Emergency crews arrived to find three male workers injured, according to Assistant Fire Chief Ralph Black.
One of the workers was still in a harness inside the cherry picker. A female coworker was attending to him.
Another was pinned on the ground under a beam laying on his body, from his hips to his knees.
Firefighters got the beam off him within five to ten minutes with the help of high-pressure lift bags as well as construction equipment, according to Black.
The firefighters then noticed that the female construction worker was moving oddly, and had her checked out. She, too, was injured. She told firefighters she had been in the cherry picker at the time of the accident.
She was transported to the Hospital of St. Raphael. The three males went to Yale-New Haven.
“There were serious crushing injuries” to the pinned construction worker, Black said. “He was conscious, but in a lot of pain.”
The female construction worker was in stable condition, reported St. Raphael’s spokeswoman Liese Klein.
Black said another accident occurred last month at the same site, involving a small cherry picker. One worker was injured in a basement. “That [having two accidents in a month] is concerning, and we’ll look into that,” Black said.
Eyewitness Russ Hentz, who works at Yale printing and publishing services in the Science Park complex, said he saw the beam collapse from the right-hand side of the building.
“All that steel came down, piece after piece,” Hentz said.
A dozen emergency vehicles were on the scene by 10:30 a.m., including a half-dozen police cars, ambulances, and a couple of fire trucks.
Police set up a mobile incident command center at the scene.
The building under construction is at the Newhallville end of Science Park, the former rifle factory complex that became a high-tech incubator in the 1980s and is now going through a new wave of reconstruction.
As of 11:30 a.m., officials were waiting for a team from Connecticut Occupational Safety and Health Administration to show up on the scene.
Tom Goemaat, CEO of Shawmut Design and Construction, released the following statement on Monday at 5 p.m.:
“Our primary concern right now is for the well-being of the workers involved in today’s incident. Our thoughts are with them and their families. Job site safety is always our top construction priority, and we will cooperate fully with OSHA and local authorities in reviewing this very serious matter.”
Kelli McLeod, a Shawmut spokesperson, later said the workers were subcontractors. She said she did not have their names.
U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro later released this statement: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the injured workers and their families. My office has been in contact with OSHA and Andy Esposito, head of Ironworkers Local 424, to offer our assistance after this terrible accident.”