Lightning Strike Kills Worker At N.J. Casino Site

lightning strike accident killed worker Atlantic CityBy Wayne Parry

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Lightning struck three workers who were finishing concrete at an Atlantic City casino project in one of the state's tallest buildings on Thursday, killing one and injuring the others.

The accident happened around 3:30 p.m. during a brief but intense storm that filled the air with lightning and torrential rain.

The worker who died had been "in bad shape" when rescuers reached him, fire Chief Dennis Brooks told The Associated Press. The rescuers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation while taking him down from an upper floor of the unfinished Revel casino project, Brooks said.

"They were up there pouring concrete when the bucket lift they were using got hit by lightning," Brooks said. "One guy got a glancing hit, and he sustained a minor injury. Another guy got the full brunt of it. We did CPR all the way down to him and on the way to the hospital."

Police identified the dead worker as Brian Bradley, of Linwood.

Officials with Revel Entertainment LLC confirmed the worker's death in a statement Thursday, adding it extended its "deepest condolences to the injured men and their families."

The third injured worker declined medical treatment at the scene, the company said.

Atlantic City's emergency management coordinator, Tom Foley, said the men were working on the seventh floor of the 48-story project when the lightning struck.

"It was a severe thunderstorm," Foley said.

Electrician Kevin Malinowski, who was working on the project, said he and other workers were shaken by the accident in the nation's second-biggest gambling market after Las Vegas.

"It's a shame what happened," said Malinowski, from Turnersville. "This is part of the job."

The ocean-themed casino will have 1,100 hotel rooms and employ about 5,500 people when it opens May 15. It is 710 feet tall, making it the second-tallest building in the state after the Goldman Sachs building in Jersey City.

The lightning strike was only the latest tragedy to befall the $2.4 billion project. In July 2008, a plane carrying three executives to a meeting with a glass manufacturer crashed in bad weather at a small airport in Minnesota, killing all eight people on board. By January 2009, the project was virtually out of money. It laid off 400 workers and halted construction on everything but the exterior until new funding was lined up earlier this year.

Even the wind has targeted Revel, toppling a construction crane off its roof. And when welders were dismantling what was left of the crane, part of the building caught fire, but it was quickly extinguished.

Foley said Thursday's lightning strike did not cause structural damage to the building.

Revel will be the city's 12th casino and probably the last mega-project built in Atlantic City for some time because of competition and concerns about the economy.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC



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