Company in fatal Boston water main break faced violations

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2016 4:55 PM
Company in fatal Boston water main break faced violations

BOSTON (AP) — A company involved in a water main break in Boston that killed two workers has a history of safety violations, federal records show.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration records show that Atlantic Drain Services, of Boston, has received citations for workers lacking oxygen underground and for conditions that could lead to cave-ins.

Records show the company faces tens of thousands of dollars of unpaid fines for violations reaching back to at least 2012.

Two workers were trapped Friday when a water main gave way and flooded a deep trench where they were working in the South End neighborhood. They were identified by family members as Robert Higgins, 47, and Kelvin Mattocks, 53, The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/2et2Cr3) reported.

A call placed to Atlantic Drain Services was not immediately returned Saturday.

Authorities with the Boston Fire Department recovered the bodies Friday night after several hours of painstaking work. In Twitter messages, the department said its technical rescue crew had to work in a trench box. The firefighters were on their knees gently removing dirt with their hands to reach the dead workers.

"Very difficult operation on Dartmouth St. 1st responders trying to respect the deceased while continuing the recovery," read one tweet.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh expressed his condolences Friday night, adding "Today is a difficult day for the entire City of Boston, and especially those who go to work at construction sites every day to make our city better."

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans told the Globe that it appears a pipe must have broken "and unfortunately they weren't able to get themselves out of a hole." He said it appeared other workers were able to escape from the trench.

The trench was estimated to be about 12- to 15-feet deep.

Marcy Goldstein-Gleb, the executive director of OSHA's Massachusetts coalition, told the Boston Globe the company was conducting private work, not work on behalf of the city of Boston, during the pipe break.