News and Analysis

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008 2:36 p.m.

Man dies after fall from F Street construction site

A man died after falling from the seventh floor of the construction site for the new GW residence hall on F Street this afternoon.

A man installing this window on the 7th floor of the residence hall fell to his death at about 1:35 this afternoon.

A man installing this window on the 7th floor of the residence hall fell to his death at about 1:35 this afternoon. Anne Wernikoff/assistant photo editor

At about 1:35 p.m., a man working for ECP, a window sub-contractor, fell while installing a window on the seventh floor of the building, said University spokeswoman Tracy Schario. D.C. Fire/EMS Spokesperson Alan Etter said the man was killed instantly.

Schario and police said the man lost his balance.

Clark Construction, the primary contractor, stopped work on the building pending an investigation. Metropolitan Police Department Commander Andy Solberg said the body would remain at the scene until the Occupational Health and Safety Association arrived.

Schario said she could not release the man’s name without the family’s approval, adding that he is about 46 years old and had several children. Etter said he could not specify an exact age because of the condition of the body. “Anything where you can look at someone, and tell how old they are, is destroyed,” Etter said.

Sophomore Lorraine McDonald, a second-floor resident of Guthridge Hall, said she saw a silver metal box fall from one of the upper floors of the building at some point between 1:30 and 2 p.m. McDonald then heard a scream coming from the construction site.

“Really until there’s a full investigation it’s premature to speculate the cause of the accident,” Schario said.

–Nathan Grossman contributed to this report.

  • Johnny Padilla

    The victim is my uncle. Where can I find more information about this accidental tragedy? Information, like a full description of the accident or something like that. Is there a city data base of incidents in D.C.?

  • Cory


    Sorry to hear about your uncle. I work for a plaintiff’s firm so I may be able to point you in the right direction.(this is not legal advice, just general info) OSHA will launch a full investigation as they always do in these types of accidents. Often the final reports take a good while to complete. They contain pretty detailed information but often much of the information is redacted for privacy reasons. You yourself as an indirect relative may not be able to get a copy that is not redacted but his wife, for example, will likely be able to. Also, the local police will generally conduct an investigation of their own and that is easier to get and is generally completed much sooner. At first glance, I would say that your family should talk to an attorney (I want to stress that this is not a sales pitch. I just came across this article and thought I could help you with some general info) because based on the little bit of info in the article I can spot several OSHA violations that the subcontractor and or general contractor may be have some liability on. If your family is even considering the possibility of a wrongful death suit, you need to find an attorney ASAP and that attorney, if they are good, will hire an accident specialist and will get you the answers to any questions that you have. This will cost you nothing in most cases, and if you have unanswered questions, this will certainly help. Most of us in this field work on a contingency fee basis so you really have nothing to lose. If it turns out that the company your uncle worked for is responsible, you will be happy your hired an attorney so soon (waiting just results in lost evidence every time) but if it turns out that the company your uncle worked for didn’t do anything wrong then you the case goes away, you get the answers to your questions, and you don’t owe the law firm anything, at least, that’s how our firm handles these types of cases. Some lesser reputable firms will try to place the blame on anyone and everyone possible just to make some money, but we only proceed in cases where there is a definitive violation of a legal duty owed to the employee. I hope that info helps and best of luck to your family during this rough time.

  • Steve

    Clark Construction using non-union labor? Sure, they have in the past. Were these guys union ? Who knows.

    But window installers should be wearing harnesses. And well, unless his failed, he probably wasn’t wearing one.

    This would be the safety officers responsibility, thus, Clark and the sub would be responsible, even though this person should have been wearing it.

    GW probably requested non-union contractors (to lower costs).

  • John Curran

    This is terrible news, and very sad.

    Last year, I lived in the room directly across from the window where Mr. Montano fell, Guthridge 716.

  • Patricia

    The individual was also an uncle of mine and my family is shocked by this tragedy. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, especially his children who lost their mother not so long ago.

  • Larry

    This is not a result of Union or Non-Union as Steve would like for you to believe to push his own Union agenda. He doesn’t even know the poor sole’s union status and still throws stones. This is a result of a failure of personal responsibility and leadership of the employer/sub to insure that all employees working at height are following safety procedures.

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