2 Injured, 1 Fatally, in TX Water Tank Collapse
One worker was killed and another injured Friday (July 6) when a section of sidewall collapsed into a water tank that was under construction in Porter, Texas.
The deceased worker has been identified by the Montgomery County Police Reporter as 50-year-old Felipe Marentes, of Kyle, Texas; the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the incident, did not immediately respond Tuesday (July 10) to a request for confirmation and for further information about the injured worker.
The contractor on the job, Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors LLC, of Avon, Indiana, confirmed to PaintSquare Daily News that both victims were males. Two other workers were reportedly rescued without serious injury.
"We are deeply saddened by this event and extend our most sincere sympathy, thoughts and condolences to everyone impacted as a result of this accident," Phoenix said in a statement Tuesday. "Phoenix has always considered its employees and their families to be a part of its extended family and we are, therefore, committed to assisting them as they deal with this tragic situation."
According to Phoenix, the employees at the site were part of an onsite field erection crew working on the construction of a 500,000 gallon elevated water storage tank at the time of the incident.
A management crew from the contractor is onsite cooperating with investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state and local authorities, according to the company. The cause of the collapse has not been determined at this time.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook Friday that “crews were assembling a water well when a piece of side wall being installed broke free and landed on the construction crew inside the well.” A photo posted by the Sheriff’s Office shows an elevated storage tank with its bottom half installed. Drone photos taken by the Montgomery County Police Reporter show a large piece of curved steel sidewall in the center of the open tank.
About the Contractor
According to its website, Phoenix has more than 30 years’ experience constructing water storage tanks, performing all aspects of the job, from engineering and foundation installation to construction and coating. The firm works on both municipal and industrial tank projects and says safety is a priority, noting that its Experience Modification Rating—a figure used by the insurance industry to gauge risk for worker’s-compensation claims—is 0.6, lower than the industry standard of 1.0.
Phoenix has had no OSHA enforcement actions against it in the past five years, according to the agency’s online enforcement database.