‘Terrible tragedy:’ Worker dead in Boston Government Center parking garage construction accident
One construction worker is dead after he fell in a piece of construction equipment from the top of the partially deconstructed Government Center parking garage.
The accident, which occurred at around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, shut off a substantial portion of the surrounding roads downtown and would cause hours of traffic delays on the interstate as the exits to the area were closed, officials said.
“This is a terrible, terrible accident,” said Bill McLaughlin, a representative of the local Building Trades Union, which represented the worker, Saturday night. He echoed the sentiments of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston City Council President Ed Flynn during a press statement at the scene as the man’s body was still among the rubble behind them.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical services. He was described as a “young man” by Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden, but just what age that means or any other information about him was unavailable Saturday night. Hayden said there is no indication of any criminal wrongdoing.
“A tremendous amount of debris” from the building fell with the worker, burying him among the rubble, said Boston Police Deputy Superintendent Kelley McCormick.
“It’s with great sadness that we can confirm a death as a result of Saturday’s accident at our One Congress Street jobsite,” wrote T.J. Winick, the senior vice president of John Moriarty & Associates, a developer of the site. “Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences go out to the loved ones of the worker who lost his life.”
All other workers at the scene, a number which was not readily known by officials that night, have been accounted for and are not injured. One passer-by who witnessed the accident was transported to a hospital at his request but had no visible injuries, an EMS official said.
Information available at the very active scene Saturday night was scant. All that is known is that the worker was operating a “Bobcat-type vehicle” when he and the vehicle fell nine stories off the side of the building, according to Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey.
Dempsey said that buildings being deconstructed are inherently more unstable than those under construction. He added that a partial floor collapse may have caused the vehicle to fall.
Winick said that a concrete slab on the ninth floor off the east side of the garage collapsed onto the eighth floor.
The area will remain cordoned off while investigations, including by agents of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, determine the safety of the building and its area. The MBTA is investigating the stability of the Orange Line infrastructure.
“The city sticks together especially during difficult times,” Flynn said.
Developers HYM recently said the bulk of the garage, a giant Brutalist concrete structure that’s loomed over Congress Street for decades, is due to come down by the end of the year.
The developers have had crews working on the site for years, painstakingly putting up a pair of skyscrapers that sprout up through the chunks of the garage along Sudbury Street that’s remaining. HYM, one of the most prominent developers in the city, declined to comment, deferring to Boston Police.
Work has shifted to the area over the Haymarket T station in recent months as workers have removed chunks of the garage at a time.