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