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Ironworker dies after July 10 fall at Logan parking garage

Workers looked at a large slab of concrete that could be seen wedged between the Central Garage and an extension being built at Logan.
Workers looked at a large slab of concrete that could be seen wedged between the Central Garage and an extension being built at Logan.Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

A Connecticut ironworker who was critically injured two weeks ago when he fell 40 feet to the ground at a parking garage under construction at Logan International Airport has died, officials said Saturday.

Lawrence O’Leary, 54, died Friday evening at Massachusetts General Hospital, said Jim Doheny, business manager of Ironworkers Local Union 424 in New Haven.

O’Leary, who lived in Seymour, Conn., had been an ironworker for more than 30 years, Doheny said. His brother and father also worked in the trade, he said.

“It’s very emotional,” Doheny said Saturday. “He was a really good ironworker, and he was a really good guy.”

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The office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley is investigating the death to determine whether any criminal charges are warranted, said spokesman Jake Wark.

O’Leary is the second ironworker to die from injuries at a Massachusetts construction site within the past six weeks, said Jay Hurley, president of the Iron Workers District Council of New England.

Ronald “Moose” Morse 2d, 40, a member of Ironworkers Local Union 7 in Boston, died June 11 after a temporary elevator attached to the outside of a Somerville construction site fell to the ground. The deaths were the first fatalities of ironworkers locally in seven years, Hurley said.

“When you get two in a six-week period after having none in seven years, it really, really hurts,” Hurley said. “We have to redouble our efforts.”

On Saturday, a man declined comment when reached at the home of O’Leary’s relatives in Connecticut.

The accident that killed O’Leary occurred July 10 around 7:40 a.m., when a 32-ton concrete panel being hoisted into place on the third floor of the garage fell to the ground, State Police said.

O’Leary, who had been working to secure the concrete panel to the existing structure, also fell, investigators said.

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He suffered “serious, multiple injuries from head to toe,” Doheny said. Relatives traveled between Connecticut and Boston for two weeks, but O’Leary never recovered, he said. O’Leary leaves a wife and a 10-year-old daughter, according to Doheny.

“He was a hard-working, fantastic ironworker,” he said. “He wouldn’t give up on anything. It’s amazing what he went through the last couple of weeks.”

The approximately $80 million parking garage is being built by Turner Construction Co., officials said. The 10-story garage is expected to add 1,700 parking spaces to the Central Parking Garage, according to the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan.

O’Leary worked for a subcontractor, Blakeslee Prestress Inc.

Turner spokesman Christopher McFadden said the company plans to meet with all workers Monday morning and that grief counselors have been made available.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this very difficult time,” McFadden said in a statement. “We work hard every day to avoid days like this.” Massport also issued a statement offering condolences.

Reached at home Saturday, a Blakeslee official said no one could comment on O’Leary’s death. Messages left at the company’s offices were not returned.

Hurley said construction was suspended for two weeks during the investigation. He said crews returned to the job Friday.

“It’s a very dangerous trade,” he said. “There are just so many variables you can’t control.”

Before the accident, Hurley said, safety inspectors from the Labor-Management Cooperation Trust examined the site and did not note any problems.

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The US Occupational Safety & Health Administration is conducting an inspection to determine if any violations of workplace safety standards contributed to the accident.


Laura Crimaldi can be reached at laura.crimaldi@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @lauracrimaldi.