Durham County

Critically injured construction worker identified by Durham police

The construction worker who was severely injured by a falling steel beam on Wednesday has been identified.

Durham police said Thursday that Jesse Matthew Zimmer was the construction worker who was in a portable toilet when a large beam fell on it. The beam fell approximately five stories off the building and landed on the portable toilet. They said the beam crushed the portable toilet and injured Zimmer.

Zimmer was taken to Duke University Hospital with critical injuries.

The incident occurred Wednesday at about 3 p.m., at a construction site in the 400 block of Morris Street. It now is being investigated by the N.C. Department of Labor and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Multiple media outlets reported that Zimmer was employed as a plumber working for Acme Plumbing and Heating Company. Acme was contracted by Barnhill Contracting Company, which is constructing the building. The construction site is part of the Durham Innovation District, which is a large-scale mixed-use project near Durham Central Park.

They reported Acme and Barnhill are cooperating with the Department of Labor and OSHA, which oversees working conditions.

Luis Carmona witnessed the accident and told Spectrum News that it could have been anybody in the portable toilet.

“There was a piece of steel that fell off of the fifth floor and the guy was in the restroom and that’s it,” Carmona said. “Emergency crews came right away. Fire department, police department, everybody was on point.

"It could have happened to anybody, you know what I mean. It could have been me or anybody else.”

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews

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