John T. Adamo Jr. CEO Adamo Group Inc.
John T. Adamo Jr.

The Detroit demolition firm Adamo Group Inc. and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration are continuing their separate probes into the accident that killed CEO John T. Adamo Jr. on Dec. 2, when he was struck by a steel cable from a cable-suspension bridge that collapsed prematurely while being prepared for implosion at the Muskingum River powerplant in Ohio.

“John was there as executive oversight only. He was not doing any work,” says Richard Adamo, John’s brother and firm president. He says John, 57, was observing preparations from about 120 ft away. “We have an ongoing investigation internally,” Adamo says.

Dykon Explosive Demolition Corp., a subcontractor, was setting up the bridge, which is a river-to-plant coal conveyor. “We were going to fell the bridge in a safe manner and retrieve it from the river,” says Adamo.

Having weakened the bridge to prepare for the demolition, Dykon was placing explosive charges when it collapsed, says Rick Cuppetilli, project manager. Also in the collapse, a Dykon worker on a man-lift was injured when he was pinned under steel. He is recovering.

“Work has resumed at the project site and is still on schedule,” says Adamo.

Remediation work is underway, and then structural demolition will begin. AEP Ohio Power last May closed the 1425-MW plant for redevelopment. An OSHA spokesperson confirms an “inspection” is in progress but released no other details. Agency probes usually take at least six months.

Adamo Group, which specializes in industrial work, also has been active in clearing abandoned Detroit properties. The privately held firm averages $30 million in revenue and 75 to 100 employees.

John Adamo, a civil engineer and MBA, had been CEO since 1992; the firm was founded in 1964. Richard Adamo says he will not become CEO. The National Association of Demolition Contractors, of which John Adamo became treasurer last year, named a scholarship in his memory.