A 51-year old-construction worker is dead after the excavator he was operating came crashing down during a partial collapse of a parking garage in Boston’s Government Center Saturday evening.
Boston Police Captain Kelley McCormick said a “partial building collapse and crane collapse” was immediately reported by officers working a detail around 5:40 p.m.
Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey said firefighters arrived at 1 Congress Street to find part of the parking garage, which is in the process of being demolished, had collapsed. “We had a crane come down approximately eight to nine stories with tremendous amounts of debris,” Captain McCormick said.
A worker was in the machine at the time. Paramedics “made a quick assessment of the situation and determined there wasn’t going to be any possibility of a positive outcome,” said a Boston EMS superintendent. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene. Boston Police on Sunday identified the victim as Peter Monsini of Easton.
Monsini was a member of Operating Engineers Local 4, which represents more than 5,000 heavy equipment operators, mechanics, surveyors, equipment house employees, wastewater technicians and apprentices throughout Eastern Massachusetts, Eastern New Hampshire and the state of Maine.
As of 8 p.m. the scene was in “recovery mode” as first responders waited for structural engineers to ensure the scene is safe. Commissioner Dempsey said he believed the building was stable, but needed a definitive answer from the engineers. The victim’s body was recovered around 9:15 p.m.
“It’s a building that’s being demolished and those buildings are always dangerous,” Commissioner Dempsey said. “Any building being demolished is a very dangerous scene, probably more dangerous than when they’re putting them up. That’s why we have this whole area roped off.”
“We have a major area of this part of the city quarantined until we can determine the building is safe,” Captain McCormick said. The on-ramps to Route 93 are closed while traffic in downtown Boston is being detoured. Police later said the the closures will remain in place until at least Sunday mid-day.
The Orange Line runs under the scene. The MBTA was already running shuttle buses in place of subway service this weekend “to allow for the demolition of the Government Center Garage by Haymarket station.” Structural engineers will ensure the tunnel wasn’t damaged by the collapse and weight of the rubble before trains service resumes.
Boston EMS said a passerby who witnessed the collapse requested to be taken taken to a hospital, but noted the person wasn’t “physically injured.”
Commissioner Dempsey didn’t speculate on the cause of the collapse saying the investigation is just getting underway and will involve engineers and witnesses. OSHA was already on scene investigating. “We don’t have any reason to believe there’s any criminality here,” Hayden said.
“This is a horrible tragedy and my heart goes out to the family and loved ones of the worker,” Mayor Michelle Wu added. “The city will do whatever it takes so we can understand what happened here.”