A worker who fell into a shaft at a downtown Palo Alto construction site died early Wednesday morning, Palo Alto police said.
The worker, identified by the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office as 43-year-old Christopher Paul Smith of Antioch, was in the building at 525 University Ave. and fell down the shaft at about 12:34 a.m. while performing overnight construction work, police said in a press release. Officers and personnel from the Palo Alto Fire Department responded immediately to provide medical aid to the worker. Fire Department paramedics transported him to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Police said there's no evidence of a crime. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating the circumstances of the death, which is standard in any industrial fatality.
A Cal/OSHA spokesperson said on Wednesday afternoon that the employee, who worked for Medford, Oregon-based contractor F.D. Thomas Inc., fell off a scaffold. Acting Police Capt. James Reifschneider said the man fell off a scaffold in a shaft inside the building where interior construction was taking place. Further details about the incident weren't available.
The department has six months to investigate the incident and to issue citations if there were any violations, she said.
F.D. Thomas is a coating and specialty contractor that does painting, specialty coatings, insulation, sealants and roofing, according to the company website. The company's owner, Dan Thomas, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The building is one of the tallest in the city. The structure is known as the Palo Alto Office Center, which is a 15-story "suburban skyscraper" that was completed in 1965, according to paloaltohistory.org.
Anyone with information about the death is asked to call the Police Department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent by text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.