BOSTON

South Boston Building Collapse: All 3 Injured Workers Now Expected to Survive

A 33-year-old construction worker is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after a "structural collapse" at the former Edison Power Plant

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Three men were injured -- one of them now fighting for his life -- when a former power plant collapsed in South Boston Wednesday.

Emergency crews conducted a technical rescue after the "structural collapse" at the former Edison Power Plant. Police, fire and EMS crews from Boston responded to 776 Summer St. shortly before 2 p.m.

Two people who were injured were immediately removed, but a third worker was pinned under a 30-foot section of catwalk flooring. The 33-year-old was eventually removed and taken to a hospital with what were described as critical injuries.

Three men were injured -- one of them now fighting for his life -- when a former power plant collapsed in South Boston Wednesday.

Edison Power Plant Demolition

Crews were removing asbestos from the former Edison Power Plant in preparation of the 1898 building's demolition when the accident occurred. A construction worker on scene told NBC10 Boston and NECN they were working when something fell on his coworkers.

"It was an extensive extrication operation," Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey said, explaining that about 100 firefighters took part.

Three men were injured -- one of them now fighting for his life -- when a former power plant collapsed in South Boston Wednesday.

The man with life-threatening injuries has not been publicly identified, but his uncle, Jose Estrella, said he was conscious when first responders were working to save his life.

"He's like my son," Estrella said in Spanish. "My parents raised him since he was a young boy."

Estrella also works at the project site, but he had the day off Wednesday. He was called by fellow workers when his nephew was trapped under the debris.

Emotional Rescue

Mark Garfinkel
A construction worker on scene told NBC10 Boston and NECN they were working when something fell on his coworkers.

Several of the construction workers waiting for news of their colleagues had tears in their eyes and one had to rest his head against the building as they processed everything that just happened.

Tom Troy, a retired business manager for Building Wreckers Local 1421, a construction worker union, said he was with all three victims at the South Boston site before they were rushed to the hospital.

"We are all rooting for him," Troy said of Estrella's nephew. "He's tough, he's a wrecker and this is a terrible tragedy, but these things happen in this business and we're going to pull through it like we always do."

Boston EMS Deputy Superintendent Steven McHugh said he believes all of the people rescued will survive. Boston police confirmed to The Boston Globe on Thursday that the injuries of all three victims are not considered to be life threatening.

Wednesday's incident was the second construction collapse in Boston in the last month. A portion of the Government Center parking garage collapsed in March, killing 51-year-old Peter Monsini of South Easton and sending another person to the hospital.

“I’m angry that we are here again at another work site with another major incident," Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said. "This was a very complex scene, a very dangerous rescue operation, and I am so grateful and so proud of the teams who responded immediately."

Wu went on to say it was a "near miracle" that crews were able to pull the third victim from the wreckage and get him to a hospital.

A structural collapse at a former power plant in South Boston left three people injured.

Investigation Underway

A spokesman for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the agency has opened inspections with three employers at the site: Suffolk Construction, Northstar Contracting Group, Inc and TRC Companies. The inspections are ongoing.

The inspections seek to determine which workplace safety standards apply in this situation and whether or not the employer complied with those standards. OSHA has up to six months to complete the inspections. A spokesperson said that it’s too early to estimate a completion date for them.

According to the Boston Planning & Development Agency's website, the former Edison Power Plant is scheduled to be redeveloped into a mix of residences, office and research, retail and hotel, along with associated parking. The entire project is expected to take about 20 months to complete.

In a statement posted on their website, Suffolk Construction said safety is a key priority and that they will work closely with authorities on the investigation:

Police, fire and EMS crews from Boston responded to 776 Summer St. shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“Our thoughts are with the individuals who were injured, along with their families. We are currently on site working closely with OSHA, our subcontractor and the local authorities to determine the cause of this incident and confirm the safety of the site. Safety on our jobsites continues to be our number one priority and we will continue to do whatever it takes to ensure our workers return home safely at the end of every work day.”

A spokesperson for Hilco Redevelopment Partners (HRP), owner of the site said,

"The safety of the workers on site and in the surrounding areas is our top priority. We are thankful for the swift response from Boston emergency services. As members of the South Boston community, we, along with our contractor, will work with all local authorities to address the situation and keep the community up to date on developments.

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