Commentary by Neil Lieb with photo from his archive
Somewhere between checking the water level when we started and checking it in the middle, the forms became about 3.5 inches off level. That’s because one guy who was running the jacks on one side wasn’t making his rounds as he was supposed to. The guy was fired on the spot.
Now you had to get the decks level again. When you’re going off level, you’re going at an angle. So what happened, you got a little swerve in the tanks. It’s only an inch. You can’t see it. The only time is if you go up and down on a hoist. So the bottom and top are not exactly over each other.
It had no effect. Not enough to be significant. We were about 65 or 70 feet in the air when it happened.
Every job had a peculiarity. The guy in Bushland jumped off the top. He started to fall, so he jumped. He jumped out far enough to land on the sand pile. We were probably 40 to 50 feet. He landed on the side of the sand pile and slid to the bottom.
We said, “How you doing?”
He said, “Oh, I’m fine. I’ll be a little stiff and sore.”
There were seven guys that I worked with. Baker was one and Bill Russell, all of ’em fell or got killed somewhere along the line.
When you’re working in the air, you become careless because it’s like walking on the ground, but you’re not walking on the ground.
Steelworkers, they all say you get too familiar with working off the ground. When they do that, they become careless.