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'Tragic accident': Window washer dies from fall inside JFK Library

WCVB Boston 10/5/2022
jfk library exterior © WCVB jfk library exterior

A window washer died from injuries sustained in a fall Wednesday morning while working at the JFK Library in Boston.

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said the worker fell approximately 5 to 7 stories inside the building, which features a cavernous indoor contemplation pavilion enclosed by glass and steel.

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Boston police said the incident at the library on Columbia Point was reported at approximately 10:32 a.m. Arriving officers found a man who had suffered a traumatic injury, and he was declared dead on the scene.

"It does, at the end of the day, appear to be a tragic accident, but we will engage in a thorough investigation together with the Boston Police Department, OSHA and all other relevant parties," Hayden said.

OSHA later confirmed it was inspecting Gaeta Window Cleaning in connection with the incident.

The 115,000-square-foot presidential library, which was designed by famous architect I.M. Pei, features a nine-story tower and the iconic enclosed pavilion with a giant flag at its center. The 80-by-80-foot pavilion is 115 feet high.

The original building was completed in 1979, and a 21,800-square-foot, two-floor Stephen E. Smith Center was added in 1991.

The JFK Library is currently not open to the public on Wednesdays.

Statement from John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Director Alan Price:

"We are profoundly saddened by the death of a contractor who was washing windows in our facility earlier today. We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones and colleagues.

"Workplace safety has always been a priority in our facility. The Boston Police Department and OSHA are conducting a full investigation into this tragic incident.

"This person has worked safely in our building for many years as a member of the team from the window cleaning company that was onsite this week to pressure wash the building. Due to inclement weather, they moved inside to clean the interior of the Pavilion glass. This company has been cleaning the Library's windows for years and conducts Pavilion window cleaning twice a year.

"This is a shocking and tragic event and I extend my deepest sorrow to his family and the JFK Library family. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will remain closed to the general public tomorrow, October 6, 2022 and will reopen on October 7, 2022.

"Any additional information regarding this incident will be provided by the Boston Police."

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