Missing worker found in partial downtown Cincinnati building collapse identified

Updated: Nov. 27, 2019 at 3:12 PM EST
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CINCINNATI, Ohio (FOX19) - Officials have identified the worker killed in the partial building collapse at 4th and Race Streets in downtown Cincinnati.

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office says the man is Preston Todd Delph, 58, of Hebron, Ky.

Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco explained in a statement it took first responders several hours of meticulous and careful work to extricate Delph from the construction debris after his body was found.

He was transported to the coroner’s office around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Her statement reads in part:

"Ours hearts go out to the Delph family during this unimaginable period of loss. Please keep them in your thoughts.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many agencies from across the region and from as far as Columbus who came to our aid. We are grateful for the amazing cooperation and generosity of each of them. And to our own Fire, police, and rescue teams and the wonderful Red Cross volunteers, thank you so much for standing and working with us these past two nights. You make our community that much better."

FOX19 NOW reached out to Delph’s family. They say they are asking for privacy and prayers at this difficult time.

Gateway Concrete Forming of Miamitown, Ohio confirmed Delph was one of their employees.

The building, which is a construction site at the corner of 4th and Race Streets, partially collapsed Monday at 1 p.m.

Officials say most of the workers were on the sixth floor when concrete being poured on the seventh floor became too heavy and caused the roof to collapse.

Tuesday morning Cincinnati Fire Chief Roy Winston said Delph was on the sixth floor when the building partially collapsed.

A Cincinnati firefighter said Tuesday afternoon crews had a ‘general idea’ of where he was and just needed to get to him.

Crews removed Delph’s body shortly before 11:20 p.m. Tuesday

Turner Construction released the following statement about Delph Tuesday night:

"It is with great sadness that we confirm that an employee of Gateway Concrete Forming died at the Fourth and Race construction site following the collapse of a section of temporary concrete form work. This is an extremely sorrowful time and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and co-workers at this difficult time.

"We want to thank the region’s first responders, emergency service workers and the American Red Cross volunteers for their tireless and selfless efforts through this entire ordeal.

“We are encouraging workers to utilize the grief counseling services that are available to them in the difficult days and weeks ahead.”

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The firefighter said the reason they had trouble getting to Delph was due to debris and dried concrete being in the way.

Winston said Delph’s family had been notified he was the one missing and Cincinnati fire staff has been assisting the family through the search efforts.

“It’s been a tremendously trying time for them but we are trying to provide whatever comfort we can,” he said.

Turner Construction said Monday four workers were injured, but all have been treated and released from hospitals.

Chief Winston confirmed the search was a recovery and not a rescue during an 8 a.m. briefing Tuesday at the site of the collapse.

“It’s a methodical process. That’s probably the best way I can describe it. It’s just going to take time. Hopefully, if we can bring in some heavier equipment that will speed up the process,” he said at the time of the search.

Winston said emergency crews would bring in ‘heavier’ equipment after using hand tools to avoid creating more debris.

“We used basic hand tools, jackhammers and so forth, in order to not create a lot of extra mess and debris, but now we feel we can bring in additional equipment,” Winston said.

He said Turner Construction brought in additional workers to help offload the additional material and heavier equipment needed to find the worker.

“All we know at this point is the collapse occurred south to north and all of that concrete came back south once the weight shifted and created the collapse we see up there,” the chief said.

The area of the collapse is about 200 feet by 40 feet, he said.

“We have the dogs here and we are using that resource as our starting point. That is where our focal point is. It’s a very large area we are focusing on,” Winston said.

3CDC is the developer for the future building’s commercial space and the garage, which was topped out last month, according to a release. Flaherty & Collins, 3CDC says, is developing the apartments above, with Turner Construction serving as the general contractor for the entire project.

They released this statement after Delph was identified Wednesday:

“We are truly saddened by the tragic event that took place earlier this week at our 4th & Race project, and can’t begin to express how sorry we feel for the individual who lost his life, Preston Todd Delph, and his family. Our thoughts are with them as they begin to grieve this heartbreaking loss. Despite the painful news, we must now work to ensure that the area where the partial collapse took place is safe. Crews are currently working to clean up debris in this area in an effort to make sure it is secure and stable. Once completed, we can start to fully evaluate what happened and work to make sure the proper protocols are put in place to avoid anything like this happening in the future.”

Most roads associated with the partial collapse reopened Wednesday morning, Cincinnati police said. However, 4th Street between Race and Elm Streets will remain closed until Saturday.

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