Family Devastated by Father's Wall Collapse Death

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    A construction worker was killed when the last wall of a building under demolition in Cherry Hill, N.J. collapsed on him.

    Odily Castro didn't believe the two men who came to her door on Friday. They couldn't be right. Jose David, her son, couldn't have been killed at his construction job along Route 38 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

    "I didn't believe them because I knew it was not true," she said. The mother had just spoken with him on the phone a few hours before.

    Deadly Building Collapse

    [PHI] Deadly Building Collapse
    Part of a former Blockbuster Video store collapsed during a demolition Friday, killing one construction worker at the scene.

    But to her dismay, it was. The 40-year-old day laborer was one of three people demolishing a long-defunct Blockbuster Video store at the Cherry Hill Shopping Center when a portion of a nearby wall crashed down on him. It was the last wall to be demolished.

    "This has had a major impact on us because he was a good man. A well-educated, hard worker who has left his mother with a lot of pain," said friend Maria Felix Moran.

    Jose David immigrated to the United States years ago and started a family. He was a father of two young children.

    "My oldest grandson will be graduating from middle school this Wednesday. He keeps talking about how he wished his Daddy would be alive to see it," Castro said.

    The Camden County Prosecutor's Office and OSHA are investigating the demolition practices of Jose David's employer, Mancuso Contractors, and the general contractor Carl R. Pursell, Inc. The companies are building a Super Wawa on the site.

    In a statement, Wawa said Pursell has been a long-time general contractor for the convenience store chain and that Friday's collapse is first such incident in 50 years building more than 1,000 stores.

    "We are doing everything we can to support those involved and the authorities in their investigation," the statement read in part.

    Both contractors did not respond to multiple requests for comment over the past two days.

    A spokesperson for the prosecutor's office said an autopsy was scheduled to be performed Saturday on Jose David to determine the official cause of death. Officials are still working to learn what caused the wall to collapse and whether anyone is to blame.

    No matter the findings, though, they will not dull the pain Castro feels. Now, she replays the last time she saw her son alive.

    "He told me 'You are my number one' and then he kissed me," she said before crying.

    Telemundo 62 reporter Christian Cazares contributed to this report.