Metro-East News

Ironworker killed at Illinois school construction site

A 32-year-old ironworker died at a construction site on Thursday at Centralia Junior High School.

Marion County Coroner Troy Cannon said worker Matthew Smith, 32, of Tilden, appeared to have been electrocuted. His death would have been instant, Cannon said.

“We have not found anything contrary to that,” Cannon said on Friday, consistent with findings reported Thursday by WJBD news. Cannon said Smith had been using a welder operated by a gas generator.

Smith was a member of Iron Workers Union Local 392 in East St. Louis, and was working with Rockbranch Iron Works in Coulterville on the project. He had at least seven years of welding experience, said John Schmitt, business manager of Local 392.

Cannon said Smith had been working with a supervisor at the time of the incident, but that supervisor had left for a few minutes. When he returned, he found Smith collapsed.

Officials with Centralia Junior High School and the district office could not be reached for comment on Friday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed on Friday that the agency had opened an investigation and that Rockbranch Iron Works had no other investigations.

Arrangements for Smith are pending with Pyatt Funeral Home in Coulterville.

Smith had several years of experience as a welder and had recently joined the 600-member local, Schmitt said.

Mary Cooley: 618-239-2535; @MaryCooleyBND