01/16/08 — Workers killed in site accident

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Workers killed in site accident

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on January 16, 2008 1:45 PM

Two Wayne County men died Tuesday afternoon when a 3,000-pound metal sheet fell from a crane and crushed them at a construction site in Manteo, an official says.

Tim Bissette, 41, of Pikeville and Rene Perez, 33, of Seven Springs, died instantly when a piece of sheet steel -- measuring 8 feet by 20 feet by 1 inch -- fell on them, Manteo Town Manager Kermit Skinner said.

The two men were employed by Goldsboro-based T.A. Loving Co., company president Sam Hunter said.

The town manager said the workers were installing sheet steel in trench boxes to replace a quarter-mile of sewer line in Manteo, located near Shallow-bag Bay in Dare County.

Workers had finished one section of the trench box and were moving on to the next section when supports snapped and the boom-mounted steel fell on its side, Skinner said.

"The chain broke, and the sheet steel -- it wasn't terrifically high in the air -- but the sheet steel landed on its side, and fell over. When it fell over, it crushed them," Skinner said.

A Manteo police officer who is also a trained emergency medical technician, was about 200 yards from the site when he got the emergency call, Skinner said.

"He was there within three or four minutes, and he didn't detect a pulse on either of the victims," Skinner said.

The town manager said an ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and emergency medical workers aboard also confirmed the victims were deceased, the town manager said.

Hunter said the company was cooperating with the N.C. Department of Labor, which oversees its division of Occupational Safety and Health.

T.A. Loving Co. President Sam Hunter said Bissette had been employed by the company for 17 years and Perez had worked with them for four years.

The two deaths in the state's Outer Banks region on the eastern side of Roanoke Island were a major loss for the company, the president said.

"Obviously, the company is very saddened," Hunter said. "We're working with the families of these two valuable employees, and that's what we're focusing on."