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Published: Tuesday, 3/16/2004

2 chosen to head up drive to build worker memorial

BY ROBIN ERB
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Debris from the fallen crane lies along the roadway. Other material is being stored along Jessie Street. Debris from the fallen crane lies along the roadway. Other material is being stored along Jessie Street.
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One month after four ironworkers died building the new I-280 bridge, two men yesterday were chosen to lead the effort to set up a permanent memorial.

Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania laboratory yesterday received several pieces of fractured steel from the 1.8 million pound truss crane that collapsed about 2:20 p.m. Feb. 16, killing the four and injuring four others. Engineers hope to test the metal for possible problems, though it is not clear whether the cracked steel caused the accident or was simply the result of it.

"What we're doing is essentially an autopsy" on the pieces, said John W. Fisher, professor emeritus of Lehigh University and founder of its Engineering Research Center for Advanced Technology for Large Structural Systems, or ATLSS.

Dr. Fisher visited the Toledo site last week. He worked with an investigator hired by Fru-Con, Inc., of Ballwin, Mo., the general contractor, to study the wreckage before it was shipped to the lab, where the pieces will be photographed, then cut into pieces for microscopic study.

He said the review could take several weeks.

In addition to Fru-Con's investigation, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Ohio Department of Transportation, Toledo police, and the Lucas County coroner also are investigating the accident.

In Toledo yesterday, the Maumee River Crossing Task Force panel named two men to lead its effort to establish a lasting memorial to the men who died.

Joe Blaze II, business manager of the Ironworkers Local 55, and John Crandall, manager of operations at the Lucas County Engineer's Office, were selected to lead a committee that would solicit public input for the memorial.

It also would work as closely as possible with family members of the dead.

The key, though, is not to rush things, Mr. Crandall said.

Other committee members have not been selected and a date has not been set for the committee's first meeting, he said.

"We're going to try to do this in the most respectful way we can," he said.

Robin Erb can be reached at robinerb@theblade.com or at 419-724-6133.



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