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Worker killed in demolition accident

A member of a demolition crew was killed when he was hit by falling debris from a collapsed wall at Westfield Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. The twenty-five year-old accident victim had graduated Stagg High School and University of Illinois and was a resident of Palos Park. According to family, the accident occurred at a demolition site at the local mall.

The victim had earned a degree in agricultural and consumer economics in 2010, but due to the inability to find a job in his area, he had begun working in the demolition field. Relatives are devastated by the news.The young man had been a pleasant and affable individual with a positive outlook on life, according to one relative.

The demolition crew had been working at the mall doing a job that required taking down an exterior wall of a popular Italian restaurant to make room for a new eatery. As workers knocked down an outer layer of brick, concrete pieces fell down from the top of the wall and struck three construction workers.

County firefighters arrived within minutes and the concrete pieces were removed from the victims. The deputy chief issued a statement that the workers were transported to a medical center in Libertyville. Details are pending but the incident is currently being considered a tragic accident.

The administration of occupational health and safety will continue investigating the accident to ensure property safety procedures were followed. A spokesperson for the demolition company has stated that the contractors at the work site have no history of safety violations. The company's Web site lists it as fully licensed and bonded and insured in its handling of hand tools and heavy equipment.

The young man had lived downtown and was an avid athlete. Mall officials have expressed their condolences to the family.

Workplace accidents are always tragic but those that claim the lives of the young are especially shocking. Construction sites are frequent places of construction negligence and work-related deaths. Investigating them can involve a complicated process requiring knowledge and expertise. Surviving family members may be entitled to compensation according to the law.

Source: chicagotribune.com, "Palos Park native, 25, dies in mall demolition mishap" Robert McCoppin, Dec. 27, 2013

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