Memorial services will be held Saturday, Aug. 24, for Shelton James Cormier, Jr., 44, who died Aug. 17, in Louise, Miss. after falling from a cell tower. Cormier, who was from Scott, La., was married and had two children. He is the tenth tower climber to die so far this year.
Cormier fell 125 feet while working on a tower at 8:30 a.m., according to Clyde Payne, Mississippi-area OSHA director. Cormier was employed by Custom Tower of Scott, La. The 357-foot tower that he was working on is owned by C Spire Wireless.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Aug. 21 that OSHA may be taking a broader approach to investigating tower-climbing accidents that will scrutinize the role of cellular carriers. Contracts and deadline pressure might also be factored in as possible causes of the fatalities.
Two tower technicians were working on a communications tower owned by an electric cooperative on July 10 in Mountrail County, North Dakota, when they fell 250 feet to their deaths.
It was the fourth and fifth tower climber fatalities this year.
The men, Namon Smith, 42, of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Zachary Roberts, 25, of Lakeland, Ga., were adding structural supports for the addition of microwave equipment to the 300-foot tower when one man fell and contacted the other man, causing him to fall.
Both men were wearing safety harnesses and hard hats, according to reports, and OSHA is investigating the equipment failure. The North Dakota Forensic Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy.
The two men worked for Monarch Towers of Sarasota, Fla., which was subcontracting for Basin Electric Power Cooperative to work on its telecom equipment. The tower is owned by Mountrail Williams Electric Cooperative.
Tragedy struck in rural Minnesota, June 27, when a 19-year-old tower climber fell 153 feet to his death from a cell site.
The man, identified as Jeremy Jo Froemke of Lisbon, N.D., was wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident, according to the Associated Press. He worked at Midwest Steeplejacks, based in Fargo, N.D.
Officials from the Sheriff’s office in Beltrami County, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Solway Township Volunteer Fire Department and the North Country First Responders responded at 5:50 p.m. and pronounced him dead at the scene.
The tower was located 10 miles west of Bemidji, Minn., near Lammers Township.
Froemke was born in Fargo, N.D., according to an obituary in the Ransom County Gazette, and graduated from high school in 2011, where he was active in football, basketball and choir and worked on the family farm. He was also an avid outdoorsman.
Funeral services were scheduled on July 2 at Anselm Lutheran Church in Lisbon.