- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 17, 2002

Rescue workers using sniffing dogs yesterday found the body of the third construction worker to die after being trapped beneath the concrete rubble of a partially collapsed parking garage being built in Rockville, officials said.
The victim, whose body was found under seven floors of rubble, was identified as Jose Ramirez, of Raleigh, N.C.
"His injuries were consistent with being killed upon impact," said Peter Piringer, spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.
The bodies of two other workers from North Carolina Carl Gene Fisher of Nagsboro and Hubaldo Medina Andrade of Chapel Hill were found Friday in the industrial accident that occurred shortly after 4 p.m. Friday near the Twinbrook Metro station. Officials did not release the ages of the victims.
A fourth man, who remains unidentified, was rescued under precarious conditions less than 10 minutes after the seven-story unfinished garage collapsed, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue workers said.
"A lot of people are losing hope that this will be a rescue," said an unidentified construction worker as he watched from afar while his colleagues removed rubble with bucket brigades and cranes.
As the cold rain poured down all day yesterday, searchers focused on areas pinpointed by sniffing dogs trained to detect living and dead people, said Lt. Oscar Garcia, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Department.
The dogs hit on areas where searchers could not elicit signs of life.
"There was no response whatsoever to the probes and the tapping," Mr. Piringer said.
The first clue was the victim's personal belongings, and then searchers found the man under some concrete slabs, he said.
Workers removed small rubble with bucket brigades, then brought in a crane to remove larger concrete slabs.
A crane originally at the construction site was used to stabilize a side of the garage that was left unsupported, cracked, crumbling and curved. A second crane was brought in to stabilize a vertical concrete pillar weakened by the collapse.
The injured worker was found on an unstable surface barely within rescue workers' reach, sources said. His injuries included broken legs and facial fractures. He was alert but in critical condition yesterday after a second operation at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Lt. Garcia said.
The four trapped men were part of a 15-person team of construction workers from Graham, N.C.-based C.P. Buckner Steel Erection, who were on a 15-day assignment to build the garage, Lt. Garcia said. Eleven team members escaped the collapse unharmed.
Mr. Peringer said the medical examiner's office will perform autopsies to determine precisely when and how the deaths occurred. The federal and Maryland Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the cause of the accident.
"It is a death investigation," said Officer Derek Balliles, a Montgomery County Police spokesman. "Our role is to see if there was any criminal intent or if it was just accidental. At this time it appears to be just merely a tragic construction accident."
The garage is part of a construction project called Fishers Place, located south of Rockville.


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