The company working on the Naugatuck bridge that collapsed on Tuesday says it is cooperating fully with state investigators and that thoughts and prayers go out to the employee who was hurt when the bridge collapsed.
"The Brunalli Construction Company is cooperating fully with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and other state agencies in their investigation of the failure of a span of the old Salem Bridge structure,' the company said in a news release. "The company was following approved demolition procedures prior to the failure and these same basic procedures were followed in 2009 when the first half of the old structure was removed without incident. We will perform a rigorous analysis in cooperation with others to determine the cause of the failure."
Southington-based Brunalli Construction Co. was replacing a span of the Route 63 bridge over the Naugatuck River when it collapsed on Tuesday, causing one serious injury.
Anthony Mariano, 59, of Middlebury, was in the process of moving an excavator when the bridge went down, police said. The company credits him with saving his fellow workers from serious harm.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to our employee Anthony Mariano, a member of Operating Engineers Local 478, whose actions Tuesday morning most likely saved his fellow employees from serious harm," the company said.
Brunalli issued a statement on Thursday morning and said that OSHA did a full day inspection on the site in the fall of 2009 and no citations were issued against the project.
The Department of Labor conformed this week that OSHA's office in Bridgeport received no complaints about the Naugatuck jobsite. When OSHA conducted a planned inspection in November 2009, it cited the company for three "other than serious recordkeeping violations." The company corrected the violations and paid a $900 fine, according to OSHA.
Brunalli had been fined tens of thousands of dollars last year for safety violations for bridge work in Falls Village.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Brunalli Construction in April 2009 for safety violations on a Route 7 bridge that crosses the Housatonic River.
And when OSHA performed an inspection in December 2008, they found that employees on the site were exposed to several hazards, including "drowning hazards and a damaged guardrail system."
"The significant hazard of a four-story plunge was exacerbated by the lack of required lifesaving rescue equipment," said C. William Freeman III, OSHA's area director in Hartford, said in a news release issued in April 2009. "While it's fortunate no fall or drowning occurred, the potential for a fatal or serious accident was real and present at this jobsite."
OSHA issued three "willful citations," Brunalli agreed to correct the violations and is in the process of paying an amended fins of $140,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Judd Everhart, spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the current investigation is the early stage as they try to figure out what exactly caused the bridge to come down.
“I can say that Brunalli construction is very highly regarded in the business and they have done a number of projects for the DOT in the past,” he told the Register Citizen. “Today’s incident appears to be completely almost a freak accident, totally under investigation and no one is speculating on it.”
Mariano was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital. The last report on his condition was issued on Tuesday and he was reportedly in critical condition.
Approximately 14,800 vehicles cross the Route 63 bridge every day, according to the DOT. It was built in 1961 and was last renovated in 1986.