Tonawanda News

October 10, 2010

Gazebo workers healing

By Eric DuVall
The Tonawanda News

— — City officials have released the identities of the two workers who were hospitalized with “serious” injuries Friday after the Clinton Park gazebo they were repairing collapsed on top of them.

James Daugherty and David Zorn, both employees of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, were taken to Erie County Medical Center with injuries that were described as serious but not life-threatening after Friday’s bizarre accident.

Both men remained hospitalized Saturday afternoon. No update on their conditions was available.

Witnesses said Daugherty, Zorn and a third city employee were working to stabilize the structure when it quickly collapsed on a windy afternoon. One of the men was stuck under the collapsed roof while the other was hit with falling debris and knocked unconscious, according to Tonawanda Police Chief John Ivancic.

A front-loader truck was used to lift up the structure so the trapped worker could crawl out from underneath it.

Recreation director Linda Foels had warned councilmembers just last month that the structure was in need of serious repair.

“It’s a liability the way it stands now,” she said during a meeting with the Common Council in September.

The state Labor Department came is investigating, along with Tonawanda investigators.

“Eyewitness statements and photographs are being examined and investigators are working closely with Safety and Health inspectors from the New York State Department of Labor to make a determination on what factors may have contributed to this accident,” the statement reads.

Witnesses said the structure collapsed almost instantaneously. Jamie Kenney was sitting on the steps of her Clinton Street home not far from the park when she heard the structure fall. “At first I heard a crash. I looked over and the whole thing went down,” she said. “It was scary.”