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Wall Topples, Killing Three Workers in North Carolina

Lunch hour for a group of construction workers in Greensboro, N.C., turned deadly on Monday when an 80,000-pound section of a wall toppled at a Home Depot store under construction.

Nine construction workers were sitting near the wall to eat their lunches when it fell over, crushing Larry Michael Thompson, Rickey Charles Smutko and Juan Almarguer. Six other workers escaped the crumbling of the 30-by-30 foot section of the wall injury-free or with only minor injuries.

Greensboro Fire Department Battalion Chief David Douglas said the contractor erecting the walls of the store is using prefabricated sections that are temporarily braced until they are attached to the roof. Apparently, employees from a subcontractor removed the braces in preparation for the wall to be attached to the roof, but the wall had not been secured. "Once the walls are secured they are as strong as any other," said Douglas.

The North Carolina Occupational, Safety and Health Administration, as well as local authorities and the companies involved, are investigating the accident.

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