Neighbors of a Marlborough, Mass., teenager who died Tuesday when the wall of a barn collapsed on him in New Hampshire described him as a "good guy" who excelled in track and in school.
Travis Desimone , 17, was aiding two others in renovating the building in Marlborough, N.H., when a 4-by-6-foot section of cement fell on him.
"He was a great guy, just a normal kid," said Glenn Richardson , a neighbor of Desimone .
Authorities gave conflicting reports on the cause of the collapse. Detective Steve LaMears of the Marlborough, N.H., Police Department said the fall could have been caused by Desimone's sawing of pipe that connected to the wall, or the vibrations of the tool he was working with.
"All the walls of the barn are free-standing, only connecting to the roof," LaMears said. "It is possible that with Mother Nature and time the cement became loose with the vibration inside."
Desimone's family declined to comment last night.
Desimone was known throughout his hometown and neighborhood as a student and athlete at Marlborough High School. He would have been a senior this fall. He played in the Marlborough High Band while pursuing guitar in his free time. His neighbors would see him fishing in the Sudbury Reservoir or mountain biking with the new bike he received in March.
"He was such a great kid," said Dawn Linnell, a neighbor. "He used to cut grass for the local neighbors and also worked at the Honey Dew Donuts store."
Richardson said Desimone was very involved with school, his friends, and outside activities. "I have seen him around the neighborhood and watched him grow up since he was 6 years old," he said.
Desimone had two younger brothers and lived in a house full of pets -- the family has two dogs, two cats, and one bird. He had been helping a friend of the family in Marlborough, N.H., at Corbett Creek Farm the day of the accident.
The property is run by Mary and Shawn Corbett, who raise and sell Labrador and Weimaraner puppies. Desimone and his co-workers were converting the barn into a dog kennel.
Desimone was working alone at the time and was discovered by his two partners. When fire officials arrived at the scene, one of Desimone's co-workers and a bystander were trying to lift the wall off of him with automobile jacks.
"When we got there . . . there wasn't much we could do about it," said John Manning, fire chief of Marlborough, N.H. "The investigation is going to support the initial premise that it was just an accident."