Staten Island, New York
Michael Simermeyer spent the years after his high school graduation working as a cell phone-tower installer for Lucent Technologies — but the family trade beckoned.
He became a member of Local 731 of the United Steel Workers of America in November, taking his place among a long line of construction workers.
Simermeyer, 30, was killed Tuesday when the boom of a 170-foot crane fell and broke apart at the site where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working to extend the No. 7 line west of Times Square.
He was working the night shift. His father, also named Michael, worked the day shift.
“It’s really hard to believe,” said Simermeyer’s sister, Lauren, adding that her father was called back into the city after the accident. “It’s not easy. I can’t begin to process it.”
Simermeyer was born in South Beach and moved with his family to Warren, N.J., when he was 5 and to Burlington, N.J., in 1987. He moved to Lawrenceville, N.J. in March.
He loved watching movies and playing video games and was known to join in pickup games whenever he happened upon one.
“He was an easygoing, fun-loving guy who was comical and witty,” his sister said. “He really valued spending time with friends and family.”
Surviving, in addition to his father, Michael, and his sister, Lauren, are his mother, Patricia, and his sister Amanda Simermeyer.
The funeral service is this evening at 5:30 in the Horn & Thoms Funeral Home, Pawling, N.Y.
Various agencies are investigating the collapse, including the city Fire, Police and Buildings departments, and the Manhattan district attorney. The MTA is also inspecting all of its cranes at construction sites throughout the city.
“Our engineers have found defects in the hoisting system of the crane that failed, and as a result, the maintenance and operation of the crane in the days and weeks prior to this tragic accident has become the focus of our investigation,” Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said.
LiMandri called on contractors who operate cranes on a job site to perform daily and monthly checks to ensure their equipment is safe to use. The crane was due to be checked out this week by Buildings authorities after its most recent inspection could not be completed because the rig was in operation at the time, officials said.
It had been inspected most recently by the Buildings Department on Jan. 10, officials said. That report concluded: “Crane cannot be laid down to inspect boom section, safetys only checked.”
The crane operator’s cab and station were found to be in satisfactory condition. A follow-up inspection had been scheduled for Thursday.
A July 14, 2011, inspection found no deficiencies in the crane.
This was the third fatal accident of its kind in four years.
Grant City native Donald C. Leo, 30, a second-generation crane operator who was two weeks from getting married, was among two killed in a May 2008 collapse at an Upper East Side construction site.
Two months earlier, lifelong Staten Islander Anthony Mazza, an operating engineer and father from West Brighton, was among six construction workers killed when a crane collapsed at a luxury high-rise tower being built in Mahattan.
Category: In Memory of