Family of man who died at B.C. construction site awarded $875,000 – Economy, Law & Politics


Mariana Valencia-Palaciao and Sebastian Gomez are both from Colombia. The pair met in Sherbrooke over Christmas in 2009 when her family was visiting relatives | Photo: Janis Cleugh, Tri-City News

B.C. Supreme Court has awarded $875,000 to the widow of a construction worker who was fatally crushed by a cement-pumping truck in 2016.

“The loss was an immense tragedy for the young family,” Justice Matthew Kirchner’s July 11 decision said.

On March 11, 2016, a construction crew, including Gerson Alvarado and Surrey resident Sebastian Gomez, was pouring concrete at a townhouse development in Chilliwack.

To reach far corners of the site, concrete was pumped from a 12-wheeled truck through a hose attached to mobile metal boom. The weight of the truck’s outstretched boom was stabilized by four outrigger legs.

Defendant KCP Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. manufactured the truck.

Gomez’s task was to place the concrete as it poured out of the hose.

The decision said a steel collar-plate securing one of the legs on the truck fractured without warning.

“The outrigger buckled and collapsed, removing a critical support from the boom above. The boom, laden with liquid concrete, levered the truck into the air as it fell until the truck balanced only on its front right tire,” Kirchner said.

The boom dropped onto Alverado and Gomez.

Alverado was paralyzed from the waist down and Gomez, 24, was killed.

Gomez’s widow, Mariana Valencia-Palaciao, was among those who brought the case — on her part and on behalf of the couple’s two young children.

The couple were both from Colombia and Valencia-Palaciao used their meagre savings to pay for her husband’s funeral in that country.

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