Worker killed at the Martin Tower cleanup site; OHSA investigating
A worker was fatally injured late Thursday morning at the Martin Tower site in Bethlehem, where cleanup crews have been removing the debris pile left behind by the May demolition of the former Bethlehem Steel headquarters.
According to scanner reports, the man was pinned by hydraulic equipment and was given CPR after he was freed.
Bethlehem police Chief Mark DiLuzio confirmed the fatality and said it is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Duane Wagner, a representative of the owners of Martin Tower, said he cannot comment because it’s an active investigation.
After a dozen years of vacancy, Martin Tower was demolished May 19 in a spectacular implosion that reduced the 21story tower into a debris mound of 6,500 cubic yards of concrete and nearly 16,000 tons of structural steel.
Cleanup of the 53-acre site at 1170 Eighth Ave., which is fenced off from the public, was expected to take six months to a year, and the public has been warned not to trespass because of the danger of the unstable debris.
Owners Lewis Ronca and Norton Herrick plan to replace the tower with a mix of residential and commercial buildings that rise no higher than three stories. The proposal and ultimate demolition follows a long effort to redevelop Martin Tower after the demise of Bethlehem Steel Corp., once an industrial titan that fueled efforts for both world wars and built city skylines across the country.
The tower, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in 1972 when the company was the second largest steelmaker in the world. It was named after Bethlehem Steel Chairman Edmund F. Martin, under whose leadership construction began in 1969.
Staff writer Pamela Lehman contributed to this story.