No OSHA violations in chimney death

Lawsuit by victim's family moving forward

In its report, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration found no violations in last summer's strange death of a 31-year-old worker at the Pearl jobsite, north of downtown.

The body of Inocencio Rodriguez Diaz was recovered last August at the bottom of the Pearl's signature smokestack.

He'd been missing for a week soon after arriving for his first day on the job for a roofing sub-contractor.

Fidel Rodriguez Jr., the attorney representing the victim's family in their wrongful death lawsuit, said the OSHA report is not the last word.

"Not by any measure," Rodriguez said. 

However, Clark Aspy, the attorney for the roofing company, said the report was "another brick in the wall," confirming no one associated with the project did anything wrong.

Rodriguez said unlike the OSHA report that had only one written statement from the victim's boss, he has 15 to 20 upcoming depositions, possibly more.

Rodriguez said they will provide "the depth and more far-reaching investigation" before the case is presented to the jury.

Aspy said, "OSHA is not afraid to be critical when there is an indication of a problem."

Its inquiry found the entrance to the smokestack was barricaded.

Aspy said the victim apparently made the fatal mistake of finding his way inside the smokestack.

Rodriguez said depositions could show he had been misdirected to go there.

"It was not something where he wanted to stray into an area he is not supposed to," Rodriguez said.

The victim's family's is seeking unspecified damages.

Their attorney said whatever the father of two made in wages, "he sent to his family, and it's gone."

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.


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