WOODLAWN, Md. (AP) — The deafening boom at a business park construction site didn't come as much of a surprise to construction worker Rickey Samuel.
"At first I thought it was just some blasting going on," said Samuel, who was part of a crew from Sody Concrete Construction Inc. working on the building in suburban Baltimore. "I turned around and saw the cloud of dust and rubble."
This time, the boom wasn't routine: A 25-foot-high cinder block wall had collapsed on five workers, killing two.
Before paramedics arrived, about 50 co-workers frantically tried to free the workers from the rubble pile. "We were grabbing blocks and equipment and trying to lift it up off the guys," said Samuel.
The wall at the Rolling Road Commerce Park was propped up with steel braces, although workers on the scene Wednesday said some of the braces had been removed where fresh concrete was being poured.
Tyrone Tucker, a Sody worker, identified one of the dead as Adolfus Harding, 68.
"I saw him breathing for a while. Then he took a real deep breath. Someone took his pulse and said it was real weak. I think that must have been his last breath," said Samuel.
State investigators were trying to determine what caused the 100-foot section of the wall to collapse onto a concrete pad that was being laid as a floor for the building.
"We're interviewing management, site supervisors, employees who were working on the site and other witnesses," said Norman Jackson, assistant chief of the Maryland Department of Occupational Safety and Health.
The other fatality was 28-year-old Javier Tascano, who worked for T&W Concrete Finishing, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Of the injured, one man was in critical condition and the other two were in stable condition, hospital officials said.