Construction worker, 45, killed on job site in Hattiesburg
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg police are investigating an accidental death of a 45-year-old at The District at Midtown construction site off Hardy St. near the USM campus.
"Everything looks to be an accident at this time, but we can't be certain until we do further investigation," said Lt. Latosha Myers with the Hattiesburg Police Department. "He possibly made contact with a power line, as to what extent, we are not sure at this time."
Investigators at the construction site were seen taking pictures of the lift and power lines, but they could not confirm the man was electrocuted. A construction worker who was a witness to the accident told police he saw sparks and smoke when it happened.
Jozlyn Baker, a manager at the Subway just feet from the scene, said she ran outside after the power went off at the business around nine o'clock Friday morning.
"And all I could see was some of the construction men hollering, saying, 'don't touch the machine, don't touch the machine,'" Baker said. "The guy was up in the machine unconscious and he was smoking, and a few minutes after that he was on fire."
Baker said firefighters removed the body from the lift that was at the center of the investigation for police.
"Kind of traumatizing, to see somebody just instantly die like that right in front of you and there's nothing you can really do," said Baker.
Representatives with the Occupation Safety and Health Administration, or OHSA, and Mississippi Power also joined the investigation at the site. It is protocol for OSHA to respond to any accident or injuries in the workplace, like a construction site.
A construction worker who was a witness to the accident told police he saw sparks and smoke when it happened.
Rob Tatum, the developer for The District at Midtown, issued this statement to WDAM following the deadly incident:
We want to express our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the construction worker whose life was lost today. We understand that a full investigation is underway but in the meantime, we will certainly keep them in our thoughts and prayers.
A representative with Mississippi Power told WDAM Hattiesburg Police was handling the investigation. Calls to OSHA for more details surrounding the tragic accident have not been returned.