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N4T Investigators: Construction Destruction

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TUCSON (KVOA) - It was a September morning when a wall fell inside of a warehouse in southwest Tucson near the 1600 block of West Commerce Court near Valencia and Midvale Park roads.

At the time the News 4 Tucson Investigators tried to get into the building and find out what went wrong. 

During that time, Arizona's Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) conducted an inspection. 

Once it was finished, we read its 60 page report. 

Within the report News 4 Tucson found the following information: Acuity Brands Lighting wanted to do some renovations and hired a company called Warehouse Equipment Solutions Tucson. The job was to replace old steel shelves. Two employees were removing steel racks from an empty warehouse when a brick wall inside the building fell on top of them. One employee got out but the other, Luis Salazar did not. 

According to the report, the crumbling wall injured him so badly, he died immediately. 

The report also stated that Salazar’s, "employer did not have any documented training for employees... The company did not have a safety and health committee in place.” And "...did not have any [safety] programs in place..." 

Still, according to the report, a company supervisor told the state that safety measures were taken. 

The News 4 Tucson Investigators wanted to know what they were. So, we emailed Warehouse Equipment Solutions Tucson and asked to talk about the collapse.  

We received no response. 

The next day, we called and left a message for the owner. 

We didn't hear back so a day later we tried calling again. 

That time, the owner answered but repeatedly told us “no”. She did not want to talk. 

However, the director of the ADOSH did. 

"We expect that employers both public and private have a safety and health program,” Jessie Atencio, ADOSH Director said.

He could not comment specifically but said in general, in any workplace, "they should also have training. The training will help reaffirm what the policies, the procedures or the programs, in this case, require them to do." 

The state fined the company $3,000. 

Have a story you'd like us to look into? Email investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 955-4444. 

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Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

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