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Worker Survives 90-Foot Fall from Tower

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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An employee of a South Dakota tank and tower maintenance and painting firm is lucky to be alive after falling from the top of a municipal water tower in northwest Iowa.
The accident occurred about 4:30 p.m. Dec. 4 as a crew from Maguire Iron, based in Sioux Falls, was installing a new lid on the town water tower in Pierson, IA, authorities said.
Maguire Iron, which also owns Maguire Tank, provides fabrication, painting and cleaning services for tanks and towers in 26 states. The company did not respond Monday (Dec. 17) to a request for comment.
'I Saw Something Come Out'
The victim's name has not been released, but he did survive the fall, authorities said. His injuries included broken bones, officials told reporters.
Max Dunnington

Pierson Fire Chief and Mayor Max Dunnington thought "somebody threw a coat out" of the town's water tower while a crew was working. When he realized that a worker had fallen from the 90-foot-tall structure, he radioed for help.

The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.
Max Dunnington, who doubles as Pierson's fire chief and mayor, saw the man fall. He told KTIV-TV that the accident occurred just after "the hazardous part" of the installation, which went "beautifully."

Then, Dunning said, "Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something come out of the water tower, looked like had come out of the water tower."

He added, ""I didn't think it was actually a person that actually fell. It looked more like somebody threw a coat out."

When he realized what had happened, Dunnington radioed for an ambulance and medical helicopter.

Maguire Iron
Maguire Iron

Maguire Iron's services include tower and tank maintenance, painting and fabrication. The company, which dates to 1958, has no record with OSHA.

"Right after I made my call, they said he was breathing and it wasn't too long after that, I could see he was moving around a little bit," Dunnington told the TV station. "So, we knew we had a rescue, not a recovery."

Authorities said the victim was conscious and alert when he was airlifted to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. Dunnington said the man was also talking the next morning.

Cable Probed

The worker was wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident, authorities said.

However, Sgt. Gene Hacker, of the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, told the Sioux City Journal that the man's safety cable may have broken as he was working on the tower.

The Sheriff's Department did not respond Monday to a request for more information.

About the Company

Maguire Iron is a family business that dates to 1958, according to the company' website. In 1982, the company purchased Master Tank, allowing it to fabricate water towers in house. Maguire recently acquired Watertower Paint & Repair, of Clear Lake, IA, and serves a 26-state area.

OSHA records show two planned inspections and no citations for the company in the last 10 years.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Fall protection; Government contracts; Health and safety; Industrial Contractors; Tanks and vessels; Tower

Comment from Patrick St.Germain, (12/18/2012, 7:31 PM)

Thank the Lord ! I wish the worker a speedy recovery .

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