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Law firm criticizes contractor, says ‘justice will be served’ in Boise building collapse

At the construction site where a building collapsed Wednesday near the Boise Airport, wreckage shows twisted girders with a crane in the center. Three workers died at the scene and nine others were injured. The project was an airplane hangar for Jackson Jet Center.  (Darin Oswald)
By Sally Krutzig Idaho Statesman

A law firm representing the families of two of the three men who died when a building under construction near Boise’s Jackson Jet Center collapsed last week is demanding answers from authorities and promised to ensure that the grieving families see “justice.”

Serna & Associates, a personal injury and product liability law firm, has been retained to represent the families and estates of Mario Sontay Tzi and Mariano “Alex” Coc Och, according to a news release sent out by the firm Wednesday.

Och, 24, and Mario Sontay Tzi, 32, both natives of Guatemala, died when an unfinished steel building collapsed on Jan. 31 near Rickenbacker and Luke streets on Boise Airport property. It was a hangar being constructed by the private Jackson Jet Center facility.

Serna & Associates said Tzi and Och “died horribly, knowing they were about to die at such a young age, crushed by tons of metal.”

The two men were from Carcha, Guatemala, but lived in Nampa, according to the release.

The third fatality was Craig Durrant, 59, of Boise, one of the co-founders of Big D Builders, a contractor working to build the hangar.

“How can a Company with such a published history of workplace violations (Big D) be allowed to work at the Boise Airport on a project of such magnitude?” Enrique G. Serna, the law firm’s owner, asked in the release. “Who would want to engage in business practices with them?”

Since 2010, Meridian-based Big D Builders has had more than a dozen construction safety violations, most of which were categorized as “serious,” on other projects throughout the Treasure Valley, according to OSHA online enforcement records and previous Statesman reporting.

Big D Builders did not return the Idaho Statesman’s request for comment on Serna’s release.

Serna & Associates, which has offices in Boise and Texas, will “seek to obtain the findings of local, state, and federal authorities” and also hopes to bring its own experts and engineers to the scene to make determinations about the cause of the collapse, according to the release.

It hinted at taking legal action, but Serna did not respond to Statesman questions. The firm plans to hold a virtual press conference Friday.

“We will hold every single entity who contributed to this horrific accident responsible for their actions and will seek justice on behalf of all of those who grieve today,” Serna said in the release. “Idahoans deserve better, Mario and Mariano (Alex) deserved better, all of those who today are injured and recovering deserve better, and we believe in the justice system in Idaho.

“We will seek the maximum damages that a jury will award, will hold everyone that contributed to this horrific tragedy responsible, and justice will be served.”