An investigation into the death of the 24-year-old construction worker Gary Feeney has been launched by New York State Police (NYSP).
Feeney, from Templeboy, County Sligo, was crushed to death by a pipe weighing 1,700 pounds on a construction site outside Ballston Spa, west of Boston.
The 24-year-old had been working as a pipefitter with his uncles Brendan, Greg, and Lorcan Feeney at the Feeney Brothers Corp of Dorchester, which employs 700 people.
The police state that they were called to the National Grid construction site on the northwest corner of St-67 and East Line Road in the Town of Ballston for a report of a construction accident involving a pipe that had fallen on a worker.
They found Feeney laying face down on the ground. His colleagues had removed a 12 inch-by-40 foot pipe from the victim. Community Ambulance arrived and assumed treatment and Feeney was transported to Saratoga Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The police statement reads, “The initial investigation at the scene indicates that the victim was assisting in unloading the 1,700-pound pipe from a flatbed tractor trailer and was holding a guide rope while the pipe was being lifted by an excavator with steel cables and hooks.”
They continued, “The pipe is believed to have shifted, causing slack in one of cables and dislodging one of the hooks. This caused the pipe to fall approximately eight feet from the top of the load, pinning the victim to the ground."
The NYSP is assisting the National Grid Internal Audit Team, Public Service Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A joint investigation is continuing.
The Feeney family has not sought consular assistance from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Feeney’s funeral was arranged for Wednesday at St Brendan’s Church, in Dorchester, Boston, with his funeral taking place at Templeboy Cemetery, in County Sligo.
The young man and his new wife Kelly, from Ballina, County Mayo, had been married at a civil service in Boston and planned to celebrate their Church wedding at home in Sligo later this year. Family have flown from Sligo and Mayo to comfort Feeney’s young bride.
Feeney moved to Boston less than three years ago.
A family friend, Michael Clarke, a Sligo Fianna Fail county councillor, told the Irish Independent “It's a terrible tragedy. Gary and Kelly had only recently married in a civil service in Boston and they planned to return home within a year for a church wedding in Ireland. The area around Templeboy and Dromore West is devastated."
Feeney’s obituary reads, “Beloved husband of Kelly Melvin-Feeney of Ballina, Co. Mayo and Dorchester. Dear son of Fergus and Norma Feeney of Templeboy, Sligo. Loving brother of Orla, Stephen, Andrea and Owen all of Sligo and Dorchester. Proud uncle to Sean and Conor. Godfather to Lorcan. Grandson of Mary Feeney of Dormore West. Son in law of Joe and Patricia Melvin of Ballina, Co. Mayo.
“In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Gary's memory to the American Lung Association, 460 Totten Pond Rd. Waltham, MA 02451.”