A building demolition in Cherry Hill turns deadly. NBC10's Christine Maddela reports on the devastating events that unfolded.
A construction worker was trapped and killed when the last standing wall of a building under demolition collapsed on top of him.
Family members have identified the victm as 40-year-old Jose David Castro.
The father of two was a day laborer for Maple Shade, N.J.-based Mancuso Contractors Inc., which was the subcontractor hired to demolish an old Blockbuster Video building in the Cherry Hill Shopping Center at 500 Route 38 in Cherry Hill, N.J.
Castro was standing nearby the last standing portion of the building around 12:30 p.m. Friday when it came crashing down, killing him.
He was knocked into a trench, leaving him partially buried by debris. He was pronounced dead at the scene. A backhoe operator, who was shook up and having chest pains, was hospitalized. A third worker was also at the site, but was not harmed.
Crews were clearing the site to pave the way for a Super Wawa, according to Cherry Hill Fire Director Patrick Kelly.
"I'd say 98.9 percent of it was down. This is the last piece that was there and unfortunately, something happened where the wall came down on a worker," Kelly said.
The company in charge of the demolition had all the proper permits, Kelly said.
"Proper permitting does not always equal proper safety standards," said Andrew Duffy, a construction accident attorney for the Philadelphia firm representing victims in last year's deadly building collapse in Center City. Six people died in that accident and 13 were injured.
Investigators with the Camden County Prosecutor's office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were on site after the accident. The prosecutor's office will determine if there was any criminal wrongdoing. OSHA will determine whether specific safety requirements for demolitions were followed.
Joanna P. Hawkins, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Labor, said OSHA is investigating the general contractor, which she identified as Berlin, N.J.-based Carl R. Pursell Inc. and Mancuso Contractors. Reports show each company has been cited by OSHA for safety-related violations in the past.
The Mancuso violations date back to 1999 and 2000 for worker safety issues related to excavations. Three of those violations were categorized as serious. OSHA issued 12 violations during inspections for Pursell, the latest in 2013. Eight of those violations were deemed serious.
Requests for comment from both companies were not returned by the time of publication.
Duffy characterized the accident as eerily similar to the Market Street collapse in that the one wall left standing, came crashing down and killed a man.
"What this shows, unfortunately," Duffy said, "is that it is far more dangerous to demolish a building than to construct one."
PHOTO: Jose David Castro was killed when a wall under demolition collapsed on top of him.