Water tower accident under investigation - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Water tower accident under investigation

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

Homerville, GA (WALB) –  OSHA is investigating what led in a water tank accident Monday in Homerville. Two workers cleaning the tank were injured when the two and a third man fell into tank.

The two workers who were injured from Monday night's fall from a Homerville water tower are still in the hospital. The cause of the fall has still not been determined.

24-year-old Jose Suarez Torres and 32-year-old Miguel Moreno are still at South Georgia Medical Center for injuries sustained after falling down a water tower.

A third man walked away with no injuries.  "All three of them that was inside was on the platform I feel like," said Albert Thornton, Homerville City Manager.

OSHA plans to interview crew leader Moreno and Suarez-Torres whose are sub-contractors under the Perry-based Utility Services company tomorrow to find out exactly what happened.

Utility workers were rescued after falling down this tower. They were sand blasting inside the 500,000 gallon tank which is a common practice before panting the tank.

Emergency workers at the scene last night say this was the first time they've ever heard of this kind of water tank emergency.

 "We had our responders here from Clinch County respond within 10 minutes," said Len Robbins, Clinch EMA Spokesperson.

They called for help from the Lowndes and Valdosta firefighters who are a part of the Georgia Search Rescue Team trained for this type of rescue.

 "Primarily... it's high rescue techniques we caught a couple breaks with the way this thing is configured," said Captain Ken Gallagher, GSAR.

But even with the concerns they had...the rescue was a success. The men's fall was broke by a safety net but they had to be lowered down the middle the rest of the way. The City of Homerville has been using Utility Services company for routine maintenance of their tanks.

 "We have three water tanks and they are the contractors on two of them. They have been doing this with us for 40 years plus," Thornton said.

Suarez-Torres and Moreno may have sustained more injuries than what was first though a broken arm and broken ribs respectively.  

This is the first time the Georgia Search and Rescue Team that serves Valdosta and Southwest Georgia, has been called out for a rescue mission.

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