Steel Beam Collapses; Worker Dies

Thomas MacMillan Photo (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.”

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posted by: MBG on September 13, 2010  10:52am

Thanks for letting us know what’s going on, we work across the street and no other news agency had this story but you!

posted by: Edward Francis on September 13, 2010  12:09pm

Quick rapid response and action is what the fire department does best. First responders beating the ambulance and ems unit to the emergency scene is paramount to saving lives and sizing up the situation.

posted by: Cedarhillresident on September 13, 2010  12:13pm

I would like to echo MBG

When I said in my office a building Collapsed the first thing that was said where can we find the story…NHI. :)

posted by: Moreorless on September 13, 2010  6:59pm

Great job to the NHFD!

posted by: anon on September 14, 2010  11:21am

Who owns this site? I didn’t know Yale was expanding here, I thought it was Winstanley.

Will this new building pay taxes?

posted by: Pam on September 14, 2010  3:27pm

anon, have you no human compassion? People were severely hurt and one person Died.

Thank you to all of the people who did all they could to help in this awful situation.

posted by: Rob's Friends on September 15, 2010  8:43am

Everybody here in Liverpool, NY, the home of the critically injured project foreman, is praying for his recovery. Hang in there Rob; God Speed in your recovery. Our sincere condolences go out to the family of Bobby Adrian who lost his life in this horrible accident. We had just got to know you in your visit to Liverpool last week.

posted by: robn on September 15, 2010  8:19pm

If one piece of steel fell its one thing…if many pieces fell, as the interviewed worker noted, something was very, very wrong with the methods and activities on this fairly benignly sized project.

posted by: Suzanne Douglass on September 21, 2010  5:44am

I’m organizing a benefit OCTOBER 16 AT MEADOWBROOK, Amsterdam NY (Exit 27 NYS Thruway) for the Ironworkers injured in the collapse of a steel beam at Yale on September 13. We need advertisers, volunteers, chairpersons, corporate sponsors, entertainers, a printer, donations of items to raffle, food, beer, security, tents for a bike show, trophies, and… bike clubs and iron workers to spread the news.  Any information or advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

posted by: Julieanna (Pinky) Adrian on September 27, 2010  3:18pm

Suzanne, thank you for your care and compassion. My brother Robert Adrian was the one killed in this accident. The pain is horrific.  It’s nice to know there are still some people out there with compassion. My family will be there. Let’s chat.  My email is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I will give you my phone number through email. Thanks, Julieanna (Pinky) Adrian.