Contractor Falls to Death from Russell County Water Tower

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Lindsey Connell

WTVM News Reporter

June 19, 2008

RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WXTX)-- The Russell County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death of a contractor who fell from a water tower right outside of Hurtsboro, Alabama.

Twenty-eight-year-old Christopher Dupree was working with three other contractors to re-paint a utilities tower when he fell nearly one-hundred-and-fifty feet.

The contractors for B&H Paint Company, out of northwest, AL had been hired by the county to repaint the tower off of Highway 51.

Around 6 PM Wednesday night, Dupree, a resident of Marion County, AL, fell to the ground below.

Emergency workers tried to revive him but he died at the scene.

Officials in the Russell County Sheriff's Department say at this point they do not think foul play was involved in the incident.

"He was being suspended from a rope on top of the water tower in the harness and it appears that there might have been some malfunction of the equipment that caused the fall," said Lieutenant Heath Taylor, investigator for the Russell County Sheriff's Department.

Since Dupree's death is job-related, OSHA, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is examining the construction site and equipment as well as talking to Dupree's co-workers about the accident.

A spokesperson for OSHA says they can take up to six months to finalize their report.

Those contractors were at the scene today but declined to comment about the accident on camera.

They tell News Leader 9 Dupree had worked with the painting company for the past eleven years.

Police say the men did what they could to prevent the accident from happening.

"Two were on the ground and one other person was up on the tower that were trying to save him at the point that he fell. It was unsuccessful but they did attempt to try and stop his fall. It's a really unfortunate incident for everyone involved out there," said Taylor.

Dupree's body has been sent to the Alabama Department of Forensics for an autopsy.

Officials expect to receive a preliminary autopsy report within the next ten days.