Brigham City roof collapse under investigation

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:03 AM

Bryon Saxton

BRIGHAM CITY — The collapse of a vacant Brigham City store, which took the life of a construction worker, continues under investigation by the Utah Health and Safety Administration and authorities.

The incident occurred Tuesday around 3:30 p.m. at the former Kmart store at 990 S. Main St.

The worker killed in the accident was an employee of Penhall Construction, based in Anaheim, Calif., said Chris Kenserley, spokesman for Reynolds Excavation Demolition, general contractor on the demolition project.

Officials have not released the name of the man who died, but Salt Lake City media have identified him as Saofai Sautia, 39, of Sandy.

Kenserley told the Standard-Examiner it would “not be appropriate” to comment about the death of the worker, because the victim was an employee of another company doing work on the project.

“We were not working in the area where the incident occurred,” Kenserley said.

However, he said, all work on the project has been suspended until authorities and Utah OHSA have had time to complete their investigation into the incident.

“We’re terribly sad about the loss of this employee,” Kenserley said. He referred all questions to Penhall Construction Human Resources Director Mike Meagan in California.

“At this point we are not releasing any information,” Meagan told the Standard-Examiner.

The company will not be releasing information while the OHSA investigation is under way, he said.

Utah OHSA Division Director Louis M. Silva could not be reached for comment.

The vacant Kmart store is being torn down as part of the preparation for Utah State University’s new Brigham City campus.

Four workers were preparing to demolish the roof. One left the group, and the roof came down unexpectedly, trapping the lone worker underneath, Fire Capt. Michael Young said.

The roof of the building had about 20 inches of snow on top it, Young said, and that may have been a factor in the collapse.

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