Melrose man killed when deck collapses
A 78-year-old Melrose man died yesterday afternoon after the deck he was repairing at his home collapsed on top of him, city officials said.
George Carroll, of 21 Bow St., was working on the 10-by-14-foot platform that was about 6 feet off the ground when it detached from the rear of the home and fell, pinning him underneath, Melrose Fire Chief John J. O’Brien said in a phone interview.
Firefighters were summoned shortly before 2 p.m. and quickly began lifting the heavy wooden structure with inflatable airbags, O’Brien said.
Carroll was transported to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, where he was pronounced dead before 3 p.m., he said.
Bob Avola, 51, who lives two houses away, said that despite Carroll’s age, he was handy and able-bodied. Avola became aware of the accident when he heard sirens approaching. He said he looked out his window and saw his neighbor’s legs protruding from under the structure.
“There was no space. It was right on top of him,’’ said Avola, speaking from his driveway.
Carroll’s wife, who was at home during the accident, appeared to be in shock and was taken to the hospital with her husband, Avola said. She returned to the residence a few hours later, and was accompanied by family members, who declined to be interviewed.
The deck had only two support legs, Avola said. It was attached to the rear of a modest, tidy three-bedroom home.
At the time of the accident, Carroll was working with his son, George Jr., in an effort to level the aging porch, Avola said.
Paul E. Johnson, the Melrose building commissioner, was on the scene shortly after the collapse to examine the damage. In an interview, Johnson said it was unclear if the structure was up to code.
“It was an old deck,’’ said Johnson. “At the department, we always stress that professionals should do things. But right now, our thoughts are with the family.’’