Fatal Burton construction accident blamed on valve problem, worker identified

The area where construction crews installing a 42-inch water main for the Karegnondi Water Authority had an accident, leading to at least one person being submerged for several minutes.
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BURTON (WJRT) (11/22/2017) - Authorities identified the worker killed in a construction accident on Tuesday at 33-year-old Curtis Hollingshead.

The Davison man was working in a pit about 9 feet deep on a project near the intersection of Belsay and Potter roads connecting a 42-inch water main to two others.

Burton Police Det. Don Schreiber said the pipe is on the south side of Potter Road, so it was not directly connected to the Karegnondi Water Authority pipeline.

Burton police say a 400-pound, 12-inch valve disconnected from the water main, causing the pit to flood rapidly with 400,000 gallons of water sitting in the pipe.

Hollingshead was trapped under water for about 20 minutes while emergency responders and his coworkers probed the pit with a long pole to find him. He was unconscious and not breathing when he emerged from the murky water.

Emergency medical responders used advanced life support techniques to bring back Hollingshead's heart beat and transported him to an area hospital, where he died Tuesday night.

A medical examiner was still working to determine Hollingshead's cause of death on Wednesday.

The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration joined the investigation on Tuesday. Officials were working to determine why the valve came off.

A final determination could take months.

Ric-Man Construction was the lead contractor on the water main project, which was being completed for the Genesee County Drain Commissioner's Office.

"Our heartfelt thoughts go out to his family and friends, as well as the entire Ric-Man construction family," said Genesee County Deputy Drain Commissioner Kevin Sylvester. "We ask the residents of Genesee County to keep them in their prayers."

Schreiber said Hollingshead's family is mourning their loss.

"They're obviously devastated," he said. "I personally have not spoken with them, but anytime you lose somebody, especially under such tragic situation, it's -- and so close to the holidays, again, that's why I say my thoughts and prayers are with them all."

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