Two men who fell 43 feet from a roof in Lincoln, New Hampshire, last month while working for a Madison, Maine, company are recovering from their injuries as the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to investigate the roofing accident.

That was the word Thursday from Lincoln Fire Chief Ron Beard, who said accident victim Micah Nichols remains at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where he was flown by helicopter Sept. 14 after the 1:30 p.m. accident at the Lodge at Lincoln Station on Main Street in Lincoln. The lodge is a condominium association, and Maine Roof Solutions, of Madison, is under contract to replace roofs on all three sections or wings of the building, according to Beard. The crew has been on site a few months.

Nichols suffered severe injuries in the accident. Jacob Harrington suffered a compound arm fracture and was taken by Linwood Ambulance Service to Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

“Jacob is out of the hospital,” Beard said Thursday. “He had a surgery or two on his arm. I did hear that possibly he may have a fractured vertebrae, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet.”

Nichols, who has been in intensive care at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, is doing better, according to Beard.

“He’s able to lift both legs and hold them there, so he’s getting his motor control back in both legs, and that’s a good sign,” he said.

Beard said he expects Nichols will remain in the hospital for a while and has a long road ahead of him.

“It’s still fluid,” he said. “We’re hoping Micah pulls through with a full recovery and is able to resume everything that he did prior to the accident.”

Wilfred Brousseau, an owner of Maine Roof Solutions, said after the accident that Nichols started to slip on the roof, Harrington went to rescue him and they both fell off the roof. Brousseau said he was on site at the time, but he was on another side of the building.

Beard said Thursday that Nichols and Harrington had been tethered to a basket, but when they got out to do a quick measurement to cut a piece of tin, they were untethered.

“It was a mistake, obviously,” Beard said.

Beard received a report that a hydraulic line in one of three lifts that workers were using on the roof had burst near a main basket at the end of a boom. “It was reported there was oil on the roof, and that may have been why the gentleman lost his footing,” he said, referring to Nichols.

Sunbelt Rentals Inc., the company that was renting the lifts to Maine Roof Solutions, is investigating the incident, according to Beard.

Beard said he went to the scene to evaluate it afterward. He authorized Maine Roof Solutions to move a machine that had forks on it that held sheets of tin above the roof because he was afraid they would blow off and hurt people on the ground. OSHA was called and also went to the scene and made sure the company did what was needed to secure the area, he said.

Workers buttoned up part of the roof so rain that was expected to come the next day or two wouldn’t cause damage to the inside of the structure, Beard said. The work took about a half hour and then work ceased for at least a week on the project, he said, and Sunbelt got involved to repair the lift that had blown a hose.

OSHA spokesman James Lally said in a phone interview the day after the accident that OSHA opened an inspection because two workers had fallen from a roof in Lincoln, New Hampshire, but OSHA does not comment on a case until it is closed, and that could take about six months.

Beard said Thursday that he got a report that the OSHA investigation could take many weeks before it completes a report.

“I would imagine they’d have a preliminary finding earlier than that,” he said.

Brousseau told the Morning Sentinel after the accident that it was avoidable.

“Everything was in place for it to not happen,” he said at the time. “That’s why we spend so much money on safety equipment. They were obviously not using it as intended or instructed.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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