Worker dies after silo collapse; family mourns
MEDLEY, Fla. (WSVN) -- A man has died after the roof of a silo filled with concrete mix collapsed, while he was standing on top of it.
The fatal fall occurred Friday morning. Pierre Mezidor, an inspector at Titan America in Medley, was about 200 feet up when the silo's roof collapsed underneath him.
According to Miami Dade Fire Rescue, the silo was anywhere from 50 to 75 percent full of a powdery cement mix at the time of the fatal incident. They believe Mezidor could have fallen anywhere from 50 to 100 feet down into the silo. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lieutenant Arnold Pedrahita said, "In our opinion, sadly, if the fall wasn't what killed him, then the engulfment in the cement powder asphyxiated him."
Dozens of Miami-Dade firefighters, along with the Urban Search and Rescue Team. HazMat crews and K-9 units rushed to the scene. It took hours to assess the situation. Crews had to shut down a generator that powered the structure, which took over a half hour to completely turn off. A structural specialist had to be called in to analyze how the structure fell and which way could be the safest way for crews to get inside.
Multiple search teams responded with infrared and sonic equipment to assist in the search. Friday afternoon, crews were lowered into the silo by a crane with heat-sensing equipment and a special camera to burrow through the rubble in order to look for signs of life. The two rescuers had to be lowered in wearing masks in a basket from the crane due to the hazardous situation.
Hours into the complicated rescue effort, by 5:21 p.m., rescue workers called the search for Mezidor a search and recovery operation.
This is not the first time this site has needed the attention of fire rescue crews. On April 22, 2008, a fire at that location needed 100 firefighters to put it out. No one was severely injured in that case. Also, over 10 years ago, fire crews had to dig out a worker who fell into the cement mix.
Miami-Dade Police have taken over the operation. According to fire rescue crews, it make take several days for police to get to Mezidor's body.
Authorities continue to investigate.
Meanwhile, Mezidor's family is grieving their loss. Mezidor's stepdaughter, Sophia Pierre, had only fond memories of her stepdad. According to Pierre, although the 58-year-old did not have a college language, he spoke three languages fluently: English, Creole and Spanish.
Pierre said her stepfather was also a caring man who loved his family. "He's the type of person that anybody would like to go to and speak to," she said. "If you need any help, he's always there."
Mezidor worked for Titan America, Pierre said, and he loved his job. "They could just call him and he'd say, 'OK, I'll come in.' It could be his day off, and we'd say, 'You work too hard. You need to relax."
According to Pierre, she is still hoping that her stepfather is alive. "Worst case scenario, if it is what they're saying it is, I just regret the fact that I can't tell him 'I love you,'" she said. "We serve a God of miracles, so I'm still holding out. Hopefully, I get a call that says he's OK. Maybe he's unconscious."
Pierre said she does not know how she will break the news of Mezidor's death to her 2-year-old daughter.
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