LAWTON-- One man is dead and two more are fighting for their lives following an industrial accident Friday morning in Lawton. It happened around 8 o'clock at the Lawton Transit Mix company located on F Avenue near 20th Street. The fire department says the man who was killed is 32-year-old David Heaverin. Authorities say he was crushed to death when a temporary wall made of concrete blocks collapsed on him and two other workers.
A hospital spokeswoman says 49-year-old Mark Barker and 41-year-old Dick Tago are both in critical condition. Tago was later taken to an Oklahoma City hospital.
The fire department says the three victims were standing in a sand pit Friday morning, waiting on a dump truck to bring in a new load. That's when something went terribly wrong. "Unfortunately it appears at this time that somebody pushed on the soil pile from the front side with a heavy piece of equipment, caved the soil in on the three men and trapped them. When it did the middle part of the wall bulged out and the wall collapsed on them," said Lawton Fire Department Deputy Chief Lonnie London.
Co-workers and eventually emergency crews rushed to save the men. They were able to pull Barker and Tago to safety first. "They had torso, lower torso injuries, both of them pretty much on the lower part of their bodies," London said.
Unfortunately, Heaverin was buried too far under the rubble... a stack of about five concrete blocks weighing around five-thousand pounds each. It took several hours to free his body, as co-workers watched in disbelief. "You could see he tried to shield himself, but he just didn't have anywhere to go," said London.
"They were part of our family," company safety coordinator Bruce Evans said. "This is a small company. We work together, play together, and everyone is very important. We're all in shock right now."
Company safety officials and investigators from OSHA have already began looking into what caused this disaster. But London believes the temporary wall which collapsed was safe. "Had it not been acted on by an outside source I don't think it would have happened."
Many people may be wondering if heavy rain overnight played a role in this accident. Fire officials don't believe it did.
This is the second tragedy of the year for Lawton Transit Mix. One of their drivers was killed in a cement truck crash back in February. The company is owned by Evans and Associates, based in Ponca City.