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3 Workers Killed In Fall At Portland Airport Project

Fri., Aug. 1, 1997

Three workers fell to their deaths Thursday when steel beams in a parking garage under construction collapsed at Portland International Airport.

The deaths occurred about 3:30 p.m. in a part of the garage being expanded from three to seven stories. Steel beams tumbled to the ground like pieces of a giant broken erector set, some bent or sheared by the force of the accident. The men had been on top of the structure.

“It looks like the top four stories of it just collapsed,” said Neil Heesacker, spokesman for the Portland Fire Bureau. “The steelworkers would have to be tied onto it with cables. It looks like when the thing collapsed it just dragged them right to the ground.”

He said the men probably died instantly from serious head trauma.

No other workers were injured in the accident. Midwest Steel Erectors, a subcontractor, had a construction crew of 50 to 60 working on the garage Thursday.

Frank Van Deventer, president of Baugh Construction, the project’s contractor, said the dead workers’ names wouldn’t be made public until today, but television station said they were from Portland, Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska.

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