Crane Accidents

Worker Crushed to Death at Gap Project

02/22/01

Fresno, California

Metal staircase falls from a crane during expansion work.

A heavy metal staircase fell from a crane onto the second floor of the Gap expansion project in Fresno, crushing one construction worker to death and injuring two others.

Desi Armenta, 28, of Fresno died in transit to a hospital. Armenta was an employee of Mid State Steel Erectors of Stockton, a subcontractor on the project.

The accident broke a second worker’s wrist and bruised a third worker’s legs, said Fresno police Sgt. Neal Manha; neither of their injuries was life-threatening.

Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Timothy Henry said the staircase was being lowered into place about 10:20 a.m. One construction worker stood on top of the staircase with Armenta below, using their strength to “jockey it into position” on the way down when the staircase came loose, pinning Armenta.

Armenta’s co-workers rushed to free him, joined by rescue crews who later performed CPR. Armenta was reportedly alive when the ambulance left the scene but was declared dead on arrival at University Medical Center at 11:12 a.m.

The worker who was standing on top of the staircase when it fell was later discovered to have suffered a broken wrist and was reported in fair condition at Community Medical Center-Fresno.

Category: Accident Report, In Memory of

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