State, federal officials investigate after falling beam injures Durham worker

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – State and federal agencies are in Durham working to figure out what caused a metal beam to fall five stories, crushing a portable toilet and seriously injuring a man inside.

Durham police say the incident happened around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at a construction site on the 400 block of Morris Street downtown.

On Thursday, North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Department investigators took pictures, collected evidence and talked to witnesses.

“This is unusual because the person was sort of taking a break and they were in kind of an enclosed area,” said Jason Tyson, the public information officer with the North Carolina Department of Labor. “They were in a porta-potty where you can’t see around you so it’s a little unusual and the with the beam kind of like a freak accident.”

The 48-year-old construction worker works for ACME Plumbing Co., which is contracted under Barnhill Contracting Company.

He’s at Duke Hospital getting treated for serious injuries.

ACME Plumbing says he’s already undergone brain surgery.

In a statement to CBS North Carolina, Barnhill Contracting Company said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the worker and his family. We are offering our full support to ACME Plumbing Company.”

The Labor Department says it’s too early to determine if anyone would be cited for what happened.

The investigation could take up to six months to complete.

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