Massachusetts' first fatal construction accident of the year occurred when a portion of the Government Center garage collapsed - killing 51-year-old Peter Monsini. There are still many unanswered questions about what happened, and officials are warning that the investigation will be lengthy.
Part of the Government Center garage, which is being demolished, came down after a concrete slab on the ninth floor collapsed. The demolition is all part of the $1.5 billion Bullfinch Redevelopment Project, construction firm John Moriarty & Associates said in a statement. The finished project is expected to include a parking garage surrounded by office and apartment buildings.
"Construction is an incredibly dangerous industry, and we see that year, after year, after year," Jeff Newtown of the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH) said.
An incident of this magnitude will require safety checks of not just the immediate scene, but also what runs below. Investigators and safety officials were inspecting the underground subway lines after the collapse, including using a drone to shoot some of the area while a train was apparently tested on the Haymarket tracks.
Structural engineers say there’s no indication of damage to the infrastructure.
But the T estimates as much 100 tons of rubble fell on the ground above the tunnels. Investigators are still looking for a cause, raising concerns in a city littered with construction sites.
"The hardest thing I think for the community to understand is that there is a lot of preparation that goes into a job site prior to construction even occurring."
Ted Touloukian, a Boston architect who has worked around the country, said safety is always a priority.
"It’s the most paramount thing on the minds of people before any conversation around can really occur," Touloukian explained.
It’s still unclear what happened Saturday, but MassCOSH said Monsini is the state’s first construction fatality of the new year. In 2019, 19 people were killed while working residential or commercial construction. There were six deaths in 2020.
"It is disheartening that we have any workplace fatalities at all and the loss of Peter is heartbreaking, and hopefully this year Peter will be the only one who has to prove that our workplaces can still be made safer," Jeff Newtown of MassCOSH said.
The Orange line was deemed safe to start running again Tuesday evening. It is not clear when the Green line will reopen.