Worker killed at the Martin Tower cleanup site; OHSA in­ves­ti­gat­ing

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Daniel Pa­trick Shee­han and Ni­cole Radzievich

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.

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