Tragedy struck in Dallas this week, as a construction fire in downtown Dallas killed three men. The Dallas Morning News reported that three Texas HVAC employees were cleaning water tanks at Thanksgiving Tower. These men died of smoke inhalation after being trapped by a fire in a 35-foot-deep tank, part of the building’s HVAC system.
One of the men who died in this accident had only worked as a welder for three months and had no training in the field. Families of the deceased are now looking into whether there were lax standards that led to this fire.
Questions of liability have arisen since officials said the men and Best Mechanical lacked permits for welding, cutting and hot work. Best Mechanical has said safety equipment and evacuation procedures were in place at the work site.
Dallas Fire-Rescue and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the fire. But [lawyer Domingo] Garcia [who is representing the relatives of two of the men] said his firm also has hired a former OSHA investigator.
He said an inspection is scheduled next week that will lay the foundation for a private inquiry, which will include interviews with witnesses.
This is a reminder of why it is important to not only hire the best contractors for every job, but have high standards as a building manager. Prevention of fire and regular maintenance can mean saving lives, as we unfortunately saw in this instance. Don’t let a simple cleaning job in your building turn into a tragedy.