A construction worker died Thursday when a concrete and gravel wall collapsed on him, pinning him to the ground where he was working on a home in Newton, Massachusetts, authorities said.
Crews were called to conduct a trench rescue at the construction site located at 316 Winchester St. around 8:30 a.m. Rescuers needed specialized equipment to try and get to the man, Newton Fire Chief Gino Lucchetti said, and it quickly became apparent that what started as a rescue effort had turned into a recovery effort.
"We realized at a certain time that the person under the wall was not viable and it turned into recovery operation," Lucchetti said.
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The roughly 10-foot tall wall in the yard was not attached to the house, Lucchetti said, but Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan described it as part of the foundation.
Firefighters spent three hours digging out the man, as another distraught contractor waited out front. But unfortunately they could not save him.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. His body has since been removed, and an autopsy is scheduled. The victim's name was not released, but in a statement, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office said he was 55 years old.
“It’s very difficult. It’s emotional. It’s long. It’s tedious," Luchetti said. "But your mind is on your tactic at the time. So, it’s afterwards that we think about what we’ve just been thorough.”
No one else was injured.
Aerial footage of the scene showed a large fire department response in the yard of home, and an excavator could also be seen. Neighbors were shocked to see what was happening in their neighborhood Thursday morning.
Eric Guo, who lives across the street, says he pulled the video from his security system after he saw a lot of emergency crews arrive.
“I watched a contractor rush to the truck and get a shovel and then run back to the backyard to do something or dig up something,” Guo said of the video.
“It is shocking, but it’s something deficient in the construction process,” neighbor Yefin Massarskn said.
Neighbors say construction crews started working on the Boston suburb house about a year ago. They never expected the project would end with a man dead.
“I’m so sad to hear that," Guo said. "I know that everybody just rushed to come and rescue the contractor.”
Newton police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded to the scene and are investigating. The district attorney's office is also investigating.
The death is the 15th confirmed workplace fatality in the state this year, and the sixth in the construction industry, according to the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, a workers rights advocacy group.