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Widows of men who died on Gabriola Island work-site last year file lawsuits

Concrete company and three other defendants named in notices of claim
An RCMP officer on scene on Berry Point Road on Gabriola Island, where a fatal work-site incident happened in March 2021. (News Bulletin file)

The widows of two men who died on Gabriola Island after a boom broke on a concrete truck a year ago are suing for damages.

Chris Straw and Marc Doré died in the incident March 16, 2021. Margaret Gilmour and Huguette Grenier-Doré, their respective spouses, have filed lawsuits in the Supreme Court of B.C. The defendants named in the suit are M and K Ready Mix Inc. d.b.a. Bedrock Redi-Mix Ltd., Tripac Engineering Ltd., Alliance Concrete Pumps Inc. and JunJin Heavy Industry Co., Ltd.

Straw and Doré were assisting with the laying of a concrete foundation when the extended boom of the concrete pumping truck snapped at its base and crashed to the ground, killing the two men, noted the statement of facts contained in the court documents. The boom had sustained significant damage prior to the incident and rather than replacing damaged parts, “weld repairs” were done, the plaintiffs say, and the boom “failed at or near the site of the weld repair.”

“The turning column failed because of inadequate fracture toughness, damage caused to it in the prior incident and the inadequate weld repair,” the notice stated.

The wives of both men witnessed their husbands’ deaths and have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, according to the court documents. Jules Molloy, Straw’s son-in-law and another plaintiff listed in Gilmour’s notice, also suffered post-traumatic stress disorer, anxiety and depression as he tried to resuscitate Straw, stated the documents. Grenier-Doré attempted to resuscitate Doré.

“The accident was caused solely by the negligence of the defendants,” stated the claim.

The families have been adversely affected by the accident, say the plaintiffs.

“Two cherished men died violent, horrific deaths in front of their loved ones,” the families said in a statement. “We believe this tragedy happened because of a sequence of poor decisions and actions as outlined in the WorkSafe B.C. report. Our families want to ensure that no other families face the anguish we are living with. As well as pursuing legal actions, we will apply pressure on the appropriate regulatory bodies to increase the enforcement of standards and regulations in the concrete pumping industry.”

The claims have not been proven in court and the defendants will have the opportunity to file responses to the claim.

RELATED: Gabriolans come to terms with community members’ deaths

RELATED: Two workers killed in Gabriola Island work-site accident

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