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Three Raleigh Construction Workers Fall To Their Deaths

A picture of a shadow of scaffolding.
Three construction workers died after falling from scaffolding in Raleigh.

There was a deadly construction accident Monday in Raleigh.  A number of men were working on an 11-story building in a busy section of downtown when the accident occurred.  

Witnesses say three men fell to their deaths and a fourth man was hospitalized when scaffolding buckled and collapsed.

John Boyette is a spokesman for the City of Raleigh.

“This involved a scaffold, a collapse of a scaffold.  So that seems to be what the investigation is centering on," said Boyette.

The contractor of the project is Atlanta-based Choate Construction.  The men were working on the Charter Square project in the 500 block of Fayetteville Street.  The site is not far from the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Performing Arts Center.  Charter Square is a mixed-use project which includes retail, residential and office space.

The men who died were Jose Erasmo Hernandez, 41, Durham; Jose Luis Lopez-Ramierz, 33, Clinton; and Anderson Almeida, 33, Durham.  Elmer Guevara, 53, was seriously injured and taken to Wake Med Hospital.  No hometown was listed for him.

A witness who called 911 said the men fell more than 200 feet when the "mast climber" fell off.  a "mast climber" allows a platform travel along the side of a building.

911:  "Alright, is the patient male or female?"

Caller:  "They're all male."

911:  "Is he awake?"

Caller:  "They're all dead."

Work at the building has been suspended while the investigation continues.  The North Carolina Department of Labor will lead the investigation.

The City of Raleigh said it does not inspect construction scaffolding. 

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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