Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Company Fined $18K in Balcony Collapse Death

The south tower of Spinnaker Condominium Complex remains closed
Vince Conti/File Photo
Shown is the south tower of the Spinnaker Condominium Complex, where a balcony collapse took the life of a construction worker, Feb. 24.

By Herald Staff

SEA ISLE CITY – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Ferguson Contracting of Yardley, Pennsylvania, as the result of a fatal accident at the Spinnaker Condominiums worksite, Feb. 24.

In a citation summary provided by OSHA, dated Aug. 23, the agency fined Ferguson Contracting $18,082 related to the balcony collapse that took the life of Jose Pereira. Pereira was working on the seventh floor of the condominiums, when the eighth floor balcony collapsed, trapping him underneath. The balcony collapsed about 2:20 p.m. and Pereira’s body was not recovered until about 9:52 p.m., when he was pronounced dead.

According to an article in The Press of Atlantic City, Ferguson Contracting has 15 business days to pay its fine. The company has until Aug. 29 to make corrections to two violations. The remaining violations must be corrected by Sept. 19.

Sea Isle City Police Department received a 911 call reporting a balcony collapse at the Spinnaker Condominium Complex, located at 3500–3700 Boardwalk.

Officers dispatched to the scene located the collapse on the north side of the Spinnaker’s South Tower. The eighth-floor balcony collapsed onto the seventh-floor balcony at Unit 712, with one victim pinned under an approximately 30-foot-long concrete slab. Pereira had been working on the building’s exterior.

Sea Isle City police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) attempted to reach the victim but were cautious after observing significant cracks in the area around the collapse and the sloping balcony.

Responders determined the side of the building was unsafe and made requests for additional rescue personnel and equipment. All residents were evacuated from the building.

Agencies responding to the call for assistance included the Cape May County and Camden County Regional Urban Search and Rescue Teams (R.U.S.T.), along with Strathmere, Ocean City, Marmora, Stone Harbor, and Wildwood fire departments.

Due to the victim’s location, responders developed a recovery plan that involved breaching the outside wall of the building near the victim. After stabilizing the seventh-floor balcony from underneath, rescuers cut through approximately 12 inches of reinforced concrete, creating an opening in the wall.

Rescue workers used heavy lift airbags to raise the concrete slab, and recovered Pereira, who was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:52 p.m. by a Cape May County forensic nurse. Pereira’s body was transported to the Cape May County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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