The body of Jamie Fitzgerald, a demolition firm employee killed in a Dec. 9 roof collapse at a closed southeastern Ohio coal-fired power plant, was recovered on Jan. 9, site contractor Adamo Group Inc. said.
The union laborer was found Jan. 8 in debris at the Killen Generating Station, a 618-MW coal-fired power plant closed in 2018 that had been set for demolition. He and Clyde Douglas Gray, 42, a contract truck driver, were killed in the accident, with three Adamo workers injured.
Fitzgerald's recovery also involved local first responders and staff from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources and structural engineer Thornton-Tomasetti, which designed the plan.
Adamo termed the effort "an extremely complex recovery," but did not provide further detail in its announcement on the debris removal operation, or when site clearing would be completed.
Unstable debris at the site had prevented recovery of Fitzgerald, 47, a member of Laborers' international union Local 83 in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Officials in OSHA’s Chicago office confirmed its probe of the accident, which could take six months.
Adamo had been allowed to implode the plant's 900-ft-tall stack on Dec. 29, which it said posed a hazard to onsite workers based on an assessment by Thornton-Tomasetti.
The company "continues to fully cooperate and coordinate with the OSHA investigation team and local officials, including providing all requested data and documentation," Adamo Group President Richard Adamo told ENR. “No actual work was under way"at the time when the plant "unexpectedly failed.”
A spokesman did not have details on why it posed a hazard. The firm said the stack "was located in an area of the site that had no bearing on efforts to recover Fitzgerald.
According to an Adamo statement, the recovery operation was using excavators specially configured to operate hydraulic shears, grapples and other tools; some machines had high-reach booms, with work led by operating engineers.
The firm had declined to disclose the total number of workers now at the site, including its own and contracted employees, first responders, OSHA officials and others.
The body of Gray, who was employed by L. R. Daniels Transportation, Ashland, Ky., a firm hired by Adamo to remove scrap metal from the site, was recovered on Dec. 12. The injured workers were treated at hospitals and released, but one remains in serious condition, says a local media report. Their names were not disclosed.
In a previous statement, Adamo said "much more debris must be removed based upon [Fitzgerald’s] probable location," which had extended the time needed to detemine his location.
The power plant is located in Adams County, 75 miles east of Cincinnati. It began operating in 1982.
Utility AES Ohio Generation sold the plant to Kingfisher Development Corp, a subsidiary of Commercial Liability Partners, St. Louis, in December 2019, a company spokeswoman said. The parent firm said in January 2020 that it had taken over remediation of the Killen facility with plans to redevelop it.
Adamo Fatal Accident in 2015
In December 2015, a premature collapse of a steel cable of a cable-suspension bridge being prepared for implosion at the Muskingum River coal-fired power plant near Beverly, Ohio struck and killed John Adamo Jr., then Adamo Group CEO, who was observing work, according to OSHA.
Commercial Liability Partners also owned that plant.
OSHA issued four serious violations ielated to that accident and a $28,000 fine, but Adamo Group said the citations were alleged violations that the company denied and contested.
“The alleged violations were amended by OSHA as were the penalties,” the company told ENR. Fines were reduced to $12,500, according to reports.
“OSHA conducted an inspection after the prior accident and the company fully cooperated, said an Adamo Group spokesman, adding that the firm “entered into a settlement with OSHA in which [it] did not admit any alleged violations,” it said.
According to media reports, Barbara Adamo, Adamo’s widow, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the family-owned firm founded by her husband’s father, which was settled out of court. Adamo Group did not confirm the lawsuit or settlement.
Adamo Group most recently ranked on ENR’s Top 600 Specialty Contractors list in 2019, at No. 445 and reporting $45.6 million in contracting revenue for the previous year. The spokesman declined to release current revenue. The firm, in business since 1964. currently has 90 employees. Adamo Group was a founding company member of the National Demolition Association, with its former CEO a one-time executive committee member of the trade group,
The firm has demolished many major sites, including the Georgia Dome football stadium in 2017, which required more than 4,800 lbs of explosives. The company was awarded a $56.4 million contract in 2014 by Detroit to demolish thousands of damaged or abandoned homes. Separately it had contracts to tear down the former Joe Louis Arena in 2019 in that city and the Pontiac Silverdome arena in Pontiac, Mich. in 2017.
In 1978, the company won a case in the U.S. Supreme Court that led to the reform of National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, affecting demolition projects.