City of Buffalo employee is crushed by a truck loader as it backed up to drop a load of snow into another truck after a record six-foot snowfall
- Employee, who died on the spot, has been working for the municipality for decades
- Worker struck McKinley Parkway at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, Buffalo police say
- The truck driver helped clear a record snowfall when tragedy struck
A City of Buffalo employee was crushed by a truck loader on Wednesday while helping to clear a record snowfall.
The worker died at the scene when he was hit at 11:15 a.m. on McKinley Parkway in South Buffalo by a truck reversing to dump snow into a dump truck, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said at a news conference.
City workers had been assisting with snow removal 24 hours a day after Buffalo was hit by a storm last week that left more than six feet of snow in some parts.
New York is “heartbroken” after a city employee in Buffalo was fatally struck by a flatbed truck while assisting in the removal of record snowfall on Wednesday. The worker was hit at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday at McKinley Parkway in South Buffalo by a truck reversing to dump snow into a dump truck, Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said at a news conference, “This is a person we all know well, someone who has worked in city government for decades, as I mentioned.
‘Someone with a wealth of experience who has meant a lot to the city service in those decades.’
He said an investigation has been launched by the Buffalo Police Department’s accident investigation unit.
Gramaglia added: ‘These are always difficult scenes, and it gets even worse if it’s a friend and if it’s a person well known to those who are on the scene to investigate the accident, as well as to the colleagues.
So our hearts go out to the family. Our heart goes out to the workers here who have worked so hard for days. It’s a terrible loss.’
The truck driver was a third-party contractor employed by the city to help remove the massive snow pile that fell on the city on Nov. 19.
Pictured: Firefighters Larry McPhail and Nick Eoanno clear hydrants after an intense lake-effect snowstorm that hit the area Nov. 20 in Buffalo, New York
He is “in shock” but is helping with the city’s investigation, Brown said.
Buffalo is suspending snow removal until Friday morning because of the tragedy.
Brown added: “We know there is tremendous grief among the staff at this time. We know that people work 16, 18 hour shifts and sleep very little.’
“Obviously in a blizzard like this, where it started snowing on Thursday and didn’t stop until Sunday, people are working around the clock. People work long days.’
Sleep deprivation has not been cited as the cause of the accident.
It is the fifth storm-related death in the region in the past week, according to police The Buffalo News.
Pictured: Cars make their way through tree-lined streets after an intense lake-effect snowstorm that hit the area on Nov. 20 in Buffalo, New York
Three people suffered fatal heart conditions related to shoveling snow, said Erie County executive director Mark Poloncarz.
A 74-year-old man crashed his vehicle during the storm Friday and was found dead Tuesday, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office said.
Brown said there were 180 pieces of heavy equipment clearing snow in South Buffalo on Wednesday.
Police were deployed as traffic controllers to prevent workers, pedestrians and motorists from being injured by the equipment at the time of the accident.
Snow began falling in towns south of Buffalo last Thursday.
The National Weather Service recorded 77 inches in Orchard Park on Saturday.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul said at a briefing on Sunday, “This has been a historic storm. Without a doubt, this is one for the record books.’
The last such storm occurred in November 2014, when seven feet of snow fell in some areas south of the city, causing significant damage to buildings.