A 20-year-old Albuquerque man was killed Friday morning at a construction site near St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road after a large steel beam struck him in the head, according to Santa Fe police.
Capt. Aric Wheeler said Andrew Vasquez was transported to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center after an 8:54 a.m. 911 call reporting a construction accident. Emergency personnel arrived on scene and attempted to perform CPR on Vasquez, but he later died of his injuries at the hospital.
Vasquez was working for Coronado Wrecking and Salvage Co. of Albuquerque, which had been contracted to demolish the canopy over what used to be gas pumps at an old Conoco gas station on St. Francis Drive just north of Cerrillos Road. The building is being remodeled into a Starbucks.
While loading an I-beam from the canopy onto a flat-bed trailer, the beam somehow unfastened from a forklift, striking Vasquez, Wheeler said.
Police were investigating the accident Friday morning, but said it was not a criminal investigation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor will be conducting further investigation into the accident.
Bob Genoway, the acting chief of OSHA in New Mexico, said Friday that the investigation is only in the early stages and could take up to six months.
“Our investigation is looking at the safety practices of the company to determine if there were any violations,” Genoway said.
Genoway said that in the event that proper safety procedures were not taken, citations would be issued to the company.
Several of Vasquez’s co-workers remained on the scene Friday as police and emergency vehicles cleared out. The co-workers declined to comment, saying, “This is just too upsetting.”
Phone calls to Vasquez’s family were not returned Friday evening.
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