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Worker Killed in Galveston Flagship Hotel Demolition

Last week a demolition worker suffered fatal injuries after being trapped underneath a 1,000 pound section of concrete slab during a demolition.

The building being demolished was the historic 1965 Flagship Hotel at 2501 Seawall Boulevard in Galveston, Texas. An autopsy of the 65 year old, Tauelangi Angilau, is ordered for later this week.

After suffering a crushing injury, firefighters and other rescue crews used hydraulic tools and prying bars to free Angilau, who was taken to the University of Texas Medical Branch by ambulance and later pronounced dead at 4:27 p.m.

The fallen demolitionist worked for a destruction company called Grant Mackay Demolition, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. The company also has a Houston office, according to their website, but they are difficult to reach and had no comment on the accident.

Just two short years ago this same company was fined after inadequate equipment was used to demolish a structure. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s citation, the company used a piece of equipment, a Hitachi EX1200, which only had a maximum reach of 56 feet 11 inches. They used it to demolish a building that was almost twice that size.

While the administration only fined Grant Mackay $2,500, they declined to state if the violation resulted from an injury investigation back in 2009. The administration is conducting a new investigation surrounding the accident that occurred when the roof of this seven story hotel caved in last week.

The demolition of the Flagship began in February, but is now at a stand-still pending the investigation. The building currently poses a threat of further collapse, according to the Galveston fire chief, and the city is going to meet with engineers and representatives of the hotel owner to determine a plan to complete this demolition in a safe manner.

Landry’s, the owner of the Flagship, closed the hotel after Hurricane Ike damaged parts of the pier in 2008 and plans to complete the demolition of the hotel to make way for amusement rides on the pier.

When Grant Mackay was cited for a “serious” violation back in 2009, the administration also reported that the company did not furnish to its employees a safe work environment free from recognized hazards. With employees unaware of many dangers and threats a demolition site poses, they are more susceptible to injuries that are causing or likely to cause physical harm or death.

Demolition workers, such as the fallen Tauelangi Angilau, are at large risks every time they step on to a demolition site. With the lack of training and education that these companies provide their workers, many are not even aware of some of the risks and complications that may occur.

After being injured on the job or losing a family member due to a fatal injury while at a worksite, it is important to have a sturdy shoulder to rely on. Fortunately, at The Doan Law Firm, P.C., the Houston personal injury lawyers are prepared to fight for justice or on behalf of a loved one after a serious work injury has occurred. It is important to know your rights. Contact a Houston personal injury attorney at the office today.

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