(CBS) — The owner of a West Lawn building where a Mexican immigrant died could be held responsible for his death.
Roberto Topia Gonzalez was killed when a brick facade collapsed on top of him and three others on Saturday. As CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, local and federal officials and family members have questions for the owner.
Monday morning, police kept pedestrians away from the building where contractor Gonzalez was killed when a brick facade collapsed on top of him. One of the first officers to arrive on the scene was back Monday.
“He was unconscious. I got down on my knee and held his hand until paramedics got there,” said the officer, who declined to be identified.
The 44–year-old contractor was working on the building with three other men. Two were slightly injured. One unharmed. Gonzalez was Ramon Tapia’s cousin.
“We just lost my mom two week ago, and now my cousin. It’s hard for the family,” Tapia said.
And they are a family looking for answers.
City officials say the owner has been contacted and cited for having work done without a permit. Officials say the men were unlicensed contractors, but family members say Gonzales was working for someone else.
Who is that contractor? Or was the contractor the owner? These are among the many questions investigators for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were out asking today. They say the contractor or the owner could be held responsible for Gonzalez’s death.
“They were day-laborers … and a man lost his life,” the first-responder said.
An OSHA violation could result in a $7,000 fine. The owner could also face more fines by city for not having permit.