Death of ironworker at Mohegan investigated
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Published on 5/21/2009
Mohegan - Federal and tribal safety officials were at the site of a Mohegan Tribe construction project Wednesday investigating the death of an ironworker.
Dick Blake, 59, was reportedly working on the Mohegan Government and Community Center building Tuesday morning when he fell about four stories. Tribal fire crews took him to The William W. Backus Hospital, where he later died.
Tribal officials would not say where he lived.
Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are trying to determine what exactly happened, what safety standards apply and whether the employer complied with those standards, said Ted Fitzgerald, an OSHA spokesman. He said the investigation could be weeks or months long.
Terry McEvily, the assistant area director for OSHA, said it was the first time investigators have been called out to that project, which was suspended earlier this year for financial reasons. The Gilbane construction company of Providence is overseeing the work.
Blake was on a crew assigned to secure the construction work until building restarted, said Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegan Tribe's chief of staff.
The center, which was to have been completed in December, was slated to house offices, a swimming pool and a basketball court where the Connecticut Sun would practice.
Blake was a member of the Iron Workers Local 15.
A woman who answered the phone for the union Wednesday would say only that Blake “was a sweetheart, one of the nicest people.”
The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said the cause of death was multiple blunt traumatic injuries due to an accidental fall.
”We're thinking of (his family) and sharing in their grief,” Bunnell said.