Painter falls into Mat­a­peake Tower

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

MAT­A­PEAKE — A man work­ing on the paint­ing project at the Mat­a­peake Water Tower fell in­side the tower about 1 p.m. Mon­day, Sept. 26, and sus­tained in­juries, said Kent Is­land Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment 1st As­sis­tant Chief Tracy Schulz.

Roque Jose Cas­tro, 31, re­port­edly fell more than 20 feet in­side of the empty water tower, lo­cated at Route 8 and Sunny Shulz Boule­vard, while do­ing re­pair work.

The county has had a ser­vice con­tract with Util­ity Ser­vices Inc. for mul­ti­ple years, which then sub­con­tracts much of the work, said Alan Quimby, San­i­tary Dis­trict Chief for the county. The paint­ing, which started Sept. 12, is ex­pected to take about a month. The work is sub­con­tracted by K&K Paint­ing and Con­struc­tion based out of Bal­ti­more.

Mem­bers of the Kent Is­land Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment were able to ex­tract Cas­tro from the empty water tower through a door at the bot­tom of the work area, Schulz said.

Schulz said Cas­tro was flown to the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Shock Trauma Cen­ter in Bal­ti­more af­ter sus­tain­ing pos­si­ble back in­juries. Lisa Clough with the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Med­i­cal Sys­tem said Cas­tro was in fair con­di­tion Wed­nes­day.

In ad­di­tion to KIVFD, Queen Anne’s County De­part­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices and Mary­land State Po­lice also re­sponded.

Dur­ing the paint­ing project, water is be­ing sup­plied from the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Busi­ness Park Tower, as well as from nu­mer­ous other ground stor­age tanks. As the Busi­ness Park Tower is “shorter” than the Mat­a­peake Tower, prop­er­ties in the Bay City, El­len­dale and Thomp­son Creek Road ar­eas have re­duced water pres­sure.

Mat­a­peake Tower holds 400,000 gal­lons of water and was con­structed by the Army Corp of En­gi­neers in the early 1970s to sup­ply the ad­ja­cent Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Model with water to run their hy­draulic flow sim­u­la­tions in a con­crete “scale model” of the Bay.

Com­puter sim­u­la­tions quickly be­came more ef­fi­cient and the model was closed not long af­ter be­ing placed in op­er­a­tion. The lands on which the model once resided is now the Mat­a­peake Pro­fes­sional Park. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment gave the water tower to the county as part of the project to sup­ply Bay City with county water in the early 1990s.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

A painter con­duct­ing rou­tine work at the Mat­a­peake Water Tower on Mon­day, Sept 26, fell 20 feet in­side the tower and sus­tained in­juries.

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