UT-Dallas crane collapse victims loved working in the sky



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Posted on July 9, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Crane collapse

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DALLAS - Family members of the two men who died in a crane collapse at the University of Texas at Dallas on Saturday say both men were both ironworkers and knew each other well, from other jobs over the years.

Terry Weaver was from Grand Saline, in East Texas. The 50 year old leaves behind a wife, two children and two grandchildren.

His fellow ironworker was 58-year-old Tom Fairbrother, from Austin.

Both loved working at great heights, said a family member of Fairbrother, who identified herself as Lisa.

“He loved working on those cranes," she said of Fairbrother. "That’s one thing I can certainly say, that he went to heaven doing what he loved."

Weaver's daughter spoke of how hard her father worked, so she didn't have to.

“He would do anything for anybody," Melisa Lucas said. "He took care of his kids. He loved his kids. He loved my mom."

Heavy trucks carried away pieces of the crane Monday, though the parts that crashed down and bent onto the new Arts and Technology building remain.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigators spent the weekend investigating, and were not on the scene Monday. A spokesperson for OSHA said the general contractor, Hunt Construction Group, is not under investigation but the crane subcontractor, Harrison Hoist, is.

The crane snapped during a burst of severe weather as the company was taking the crane down.

“To know what happened is really sad," said Chris Austin, a UTD student walking past the scene Monday.

UT-Dallas student leaders are organizing a Moment of Reflection at noon Wednesday on the campus mall to honor the men who died.

“This is a way in which we can honor the deceased and show our respect to the families of those who lost their loved ones," said Dr. Gene Fitch, the dean of students, in a statement. "It also is an opportunity for us to grieve as a community."

The university said engineers are assessing the damage to the structure and considering their options for safely removing the crane off the building. OSHA and independent investigators will have to approve the plan before that happens and repairs can start.

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