Family members and friends are mourning the loss of South Easton resident Peter Monsini after he was killed when a portion of a downtown Boston parking garage that was being demolished collapsed on Saturday.
Monsini's family issued a statement Monday afternoon saying they are "in shock trying to process the loss of Peter."
“He was a loving son, brother, father, uncle and friend," the statement reads. "He was full of life, passionate, thoughtful, and will be missed deeply by his family and partner Alicia. We want to thank the Boston Police, Fire and EMS and all responders who came to Peter’s aid. We also want to thank Operating Engineers Local 4 as well as our neighbors, friends and well-wishers near and far for the kind words we have received. As we begin to come to grips with our loss, we respectfully request privacy and peace at this time."
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'He was a good guy'
Cousin Richard Monsini described the 51-year-old victim as his best friend and role model. He said his cousin was raised in the demolition business, as his entire family worked in the industry, which makes his loss even harder to reconcile.
“He was a good guy. A great guy. A hard worker and a loving dad," Richard Monsini said. “He was born with an excavator in his hand. He knew how to operate machinery. His family… our family, is in the business."
JDC Demolition, the company for which Monsini was working, said in a statement Sunday that it was "deeply saddened" by his death.
"There are no words that appropriately describe the loss of Peter Monsini, our JDC Demolition teammate. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with Peter and his family," the company said.
How the incident unfolded
Part of the Government Center garage came down after a concrete slab on the ninth floor collapsed. The demolition is all part of the $1.5 billion Bullfinch Redevelopment Project, construction firm John Moriarty & Associates said in a statement. The finished project is expected to include a parking garage surrounded by office and apartment buildings.
Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey told reporters that Peter Monsini was completing demolition work in a construction vehicle that fell over the side of the garage when the structure collapsed.
The vehicle fell eight or nine stories with a large amount of debris. Monsini was found under a pile of rubble and pronounced dead at the scene by authorities, Dempsey said. A second person was taken to an area hospital after the accident.
Remembering Peter Monsini
“He really set a tone," Richard Monsini said. "I looked up to him. He was a little bit older than me. I looked up to him and we were the best of friends. He taught me a lot about life. I’m going to miss him.”
"I'm really saddened by his untimely passing," said Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan.
Sullivan said he grew up with Monsini, and that they went to the same school and played football together. Monsini's family is known in Brockton for its construction and demolition business.
"Peter was just a fun-loving guy with a smile on his face, and just so sorry to hear about this tragic, tragic loss," added Sullivan.
The construction accident remains under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Suffolk District Attorney's Office and city officials.
Investigation, cleanup continue
Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said Monday his office isn't discarding the possibility of criminal charges.
"Whether some degree of negligence rise to criminality, that's what our investigation will be focused on," said Hayden.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said the city will do "whatever it takes" to find out what happened.
“This is a horrible tragedy and my heart goes out to the family and loved ones of the worker,” she said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the worker during this terrible time," added City Councilor Ed Flynn, who represents the neighborhood. "Our prayers are wit him, his family, and I know the city will support that worker and his family. It's a difficult time, but this city sticks together -- especially during difficult times."
Gov. Charlie Baker called the incident "a horrible tragedy for the gentleman who died as well as for his family and obviously for all the coworkers involved."
“Our heartfelt thoughts and condolences go out to the loved ones of the worker who lost his life,” John Moriarty & Associates said in a statement. “JMA remains committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace for all our employees and trade partners. We would like to thank the Boston Police Department and EMS for their swift response.”
Records from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration show there have been no OSHA violations for JDC Demolition dating back to 2012.
The J. Derenzo Company, which shares common ownership with JDC Demolition, has been ordered to pay $87,220 in penalties for 11 violations since 2012. Most of that amount came from a 2013 inspection that found several violations related to worker trench safety.
In 2018, an employee for the J. Derenzo Company died after an incident at the Encore Boston Harbor Hotel and Casino, then unfinished and known as Wynn Boston Harbor.
That worker, later identified as Joe Teixeira of Seekonk, died after heavy construction material fell on the excavator he was operating.
The OSHA report labeled it an accident and did not cite any company with violations.
An accident report from 20 years ago described a J. Derenzo employee injuring a pedestrian with a piece of heavy equipment.
Attorneys representing JDC Demolition and J. Dorenzo emphasized that neither company has had any OSHA violations in the last five years.
However, workplace safety records show how dangerous the job can be: in the last five years, 67 workers have died on the job in Massachusetts construction sites.
Traffic impacts in the area
The construction accident had a huge impact on traffic over the weekend. The on ramp to Interstate 93 north and south were both shut down near Government Center after the collapse. There were a number of road closures near the North End and Haymarket areas as well, which made it tough for drivers.
All roads reopened Monday morning, but Boston police said Monday evening's commute will be impacted by the closure of Surface Road between New Chardon and Sudbury streets. Motorists are urged to seek alternate routes if possible.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority released a statement Sunday informing commuters that the T was suspending service through the tunnels which travel beneath the Government Center Parking Garage as safety inspections are conducted.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak described the accident as a "tragic" situation and loss of life while explaining the impact on the MBTA Monday morning. Starting Monday, service is suspended on the Orange Line between North Station and Back Bay and on the Green Line between North Station and Government Center until further notice.
Alternative service including a bus bridge between North Station and Government Center is available. The service disruption is expected to last at least a "period of days," Poftak said.
"We need to make sure, number one, that the garage and the site is safe. Next, that our tunnels are safe, before we can run service," Poftak said. "So until we're able to do that, you know, it is somewhat guesswork right now."