The stepson of a 59-year-old worker who died this week while installing a cesspool at a Huntington home said Thursday it was an unforeseen accident.
“Nobody is at fault,” said John Jahoda, 29, standing outside his stepfather’s house, also in Huntington. “It’s a tragedy.”
Edward Sinnott and other workers were in the front yard of the house on Beech Place installing the cesspool when, according to Suffolk police, the rim of a freshly dug hole collapsed, Sinnott fell and was buried under a large mound of dirt.
Jahoda, who lives in Laurel, Maryland, had viewed a video of the collapse posted on social media that showed the moment a hole in ground where Sinnott was standing opened up.
“It looked like he was going down a water slide, straight down, feet first,” Jahoda said. “It was like a sink hole wherever he was standing. He just went down and everything came on top.”
SuffolkOfficials: Man dies after cesspool hole collapses
Workers immediately tried to dig Sinnott out, first by hand, but quickly realized Sinnott had fallen deep into the ground and was out of their reach, Jahoda said.
“The earth just consumed him, just sucked him up,” he said.
An inspector with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating to determine whether the company hired to install the cesspool met safety regulations.
“As part of its inspection, OSHA is gathering information to determine which OSHA standards may apply in this situation and, ultimately, whether or not the employer complied with those standards,” said a spokesman for the agency, which has oversight of workplace safety issues.
A spokesman for the Suffolk County police said Thursday Sinnott worked for Don Antorino Sewer & Drain.
The owner of the Huntington home on Thursday said he was up the street when he heard yelling. The homeowner, who asked not to be named, said he walked back to his house and saw a hole in his yard and two workers frantically digging in an effort to get to Sinnott.
The homeowner, who called 911, also said the hole collapse was a “freak” accident.
“My condolences to Mr. Ed and his family. It’s a sad situation,” said the homeowner. “The poor man went to work and never came home.”
As his family members make arrangements to bury Sinnott, they are still grappling with his sudden death.
“There is no word — just shock,” said Jahoda.
He remembered his stepfather as “an amazing human being.
“When he came into the room he made you feel like you are family and loved, no matter who you are,” Jahoda said.
Jahoda said Sinnott also is survived by a wife, a second son, three brothers, a sister, and a grandson.
Body of construction worker found after falling into Long Island cesspool in front yard of home. Worker fell into a cesspool in Huntington, Long Island Wednesday, officials said. (NBC4)
BY Thomas Tracy
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017, 12:48 AM
The body of a construction worker was fished out of a massive Long Island sinkhole Wednesday, hours after the man fell in and did not resurface, officials said.
Edward Sinnott was working on the cesspool at a home on Beech Place in Huntington — roughly 40 miles outside of Manhattan — about 1 p.m. when it collapsed.
The ensuing cave-in covered most of the homeowner’s front yard and parts of his driveway, NBC4 reported.
Sinnott, an employee for Antorino & Sons, was directing a crane when he was sucked into the ground and covered in as much as 15 feet of dirt in the blink of an eye, witnesses told police.
A second worker managed to save himself by grabbing a piece of equipment and pulling himself out of the hole.
First responders brought in a crane to sift through the dirt, and a device designed to suck mud and muck from the hole, but the construction worker remained missing for around six hours. A call to Antorino & Sons was not immediately returned. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the incident.
Gigantic Sinkhole Swallows Man Alive After Cesspool Collapse in Long Island Yard
spawning a gigantic sinkhole that swallowed him alive, authorities said.
Crews were still filling in the massive sinkhole — wider than two cars — on Wednesday night after a frantic, hours-long rescue effort involving dozens of firefighters, police officers and workers failed to save the man.
Sinkhole Swallows Man in Huntington
Emergency services were frantically searching for a man who was swallowed by a sinkhole on Long Island Wednesday. (Published Wednesday, May 24, 2017)
"It's horrible, my heart goes out to the men," Regina Sineno said.
Police say a crew was installing the cesspool at a Beech Place home when it collapsed shortly before 1 p.m., leaving a gaping hole that consumed the entire front yard and ate the top half of the driveway.
The worker, later identified as 59-year-old Edward Sinnott, was sucked in, authorities say. Another worker nearly suffered the same fate but managed to grab of construction equipment as Sinnott was pulled down.
Chopper 4 showed an extensive emergency presence at the scene. A large vaccum crane was sifting through mud and other debris. Later, crews brought in a device to suck muck out of the hole.
First responders planted a large American flag at the site as they worked, and anxious family members, co-workers and neighbors watched as mounds of dirt were scooped from the hole.
Hours after the collapse, Sinnott still hadn't been found, and sources said a rescue effort for him had changed to a recovery effort for his body.
Sinnott was pulled from the dirt shortly before 7 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Sinnott, was an employee for Antorino & Sons.
There have been a number of incidents of people and animals falling into cesspools on Long Island in recent years.