Tragedy Strikes

April 9, 2020
Corey Shirey


There were two earth shattering events that would change my life as a professional and a human being. I was a year into my first construction job, I was tired and wore out, working everyday until the wee hours of the night. Constant phone calls and stress of maintaining a job site were wearing on me, and I was beginning to notice a change in my physical, as well as mental state. To say that I was exhausted, was an understatement. I could barely remember what I had for breakfast at 8:00 a.m., after a 6:00am start. I will never forget the day my life course was altered entirely. It was a Wednesday, or the beginning of the week, and busy as ever as usual. We had a key walk-through with the owners ( i wont mention where or what we were working on) later that day so I was prepping for the meeting, as I was walking with my supervisors, and some of the employees.

The Elevator Pit

So, as we were walking  on the first floor of this mile wide footprint job, I heard this loud bang that shook the 6 inch thick concrete floor. I looked at my second in charge (Eric was his name he was a Bolivian and the only other person I have ever met who had a drive like I did, who had the work ethic to go the extra mile) we both mouthed un-audiably "what was that". It sounded bad, it felt bad, and we knew it was bad. A split second later we heard someone yelling for help. It sounded like it was coming from the elevator shaft. Now those of you that are construction retardant, an elevator shaft goes from basement to roof. So, being on the first floor the sounds were coming from the pit (basement). As we approached the open shaft we both hesitated, afraid to look down and see what was below.  After we mustered up the courage to take a look over the temporary 2x4 safety railing, we saw a man crawling out from underneath the temporary elevator platform. I remember yelling down to him if he was Ok and after a few seconds of gathering himself he shouted back YES, "But wait where is my partner"......  I don't care what trade you are in; be it HVAC or electrical, most people have another person or two they work with day to day. That could last the duration of a job or, in this case, that could be a career bond between men. So I responded with a confused, "what do u mean?"  Before I could get that last word out it hit me. Hit me like God himself had snatched the breath from out of my lungs. I looked at my counterpart and without hesitation took off, headed for the elevator pit.

Tragedy Strikes

What sprung me into action was the realization that this mans friend, not even work partner because when you work with someone everyday for YEARS they become family, was stuck still below the elevator platform that was now flush with the basement floor. As I approached the scene, I  noticed a crowd had gathered. A crowd of bystanders, as if they were watching an interesting documentary on their television. As I stepped into the elevator pit,  the man who crawled out of the wreckage was frantic (understandably). I asked the perplexed crowd  if the man trapped in the pit had responded, or made any noises of any kind (they had been calling his name for the last few minutes to no avail) ?  They told me no, and I called out into the crowd of people asking if anyone had called 911. Everyone looked at me as if I was speaking Spanish or some un-intelligible language. Why was this suck a confusing question, I thought. It was like people were afraid to speak up or act. So I dialed the operator and they connected me to the paramedic who said they were on their way. Phone put down, now a couple people had stepped in to help or assess the situation. I called the general contractor let them know what was going on quickly and go off the phone as fast as  possible because at this time we made the group decision to lift the platform. This platform weighted over a ton, there was no way any amount of people could lift it,  But nevertheless 5 grown men were pulling with every amount of effort they could and we managed to raise it up high enough to have a man sized hole between platform and floor.  I couldn’t stop trying I was so close literally inches away. but they dragged me out and I just started crying and I heard him say we have to assess the patient before we try to move him, and I cried out just please get him out please for fucks sake. the paramedic took not even a seconds glance at him and pronounced him dead on the spot. I lost it I have NEVER felt like I did right then it was just indescribable, I got so upset I couldn’t breathe and I ended up passing out. That ladies and gentlemen was the first of two deadly fatalities that have come to shape the man that I am today. Tragedy has a way of striking when you least expect it. Trust me there were nights I didn't sleep, and  still don't sleep. You feel responsible for things you cant control and it leads you down a path that is dark and cryptic. I really  tried to do everything I could to help this man. I got a thank you package from the hospital and my company, which I never had expected or asked for, it was awkward actually accepting it. I feel bad to this day and the kit remains unopened in my closet.


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About the Author:

Web Designer, Digital Marketer, and Blogger. Certified in both Google Analytics and Google Ads (As well as many other qualifications, which you can view on my LinkedIn Profile). A listed "Top Expert" on the Kartra platform.

Premium Design Partners was started with the goal of helping small businesses achieve an online presence through SEO, an incredible web design, and content catered to promoting their brand.

Former construction professional (Superintendent for 10+ years), who understands and values an "honest day's work". Enjoys softball (And baseball, but softball now that I am old), constant gym sessions, and anything that pushes me mentally and physically. After all, life is a strive for improvement and knowledge. Meaning, in order to "climb the next rung in the ladder", you must be focused on improving yourself. If you aren't striving to reach "the next best you" in life, then what's the point?

Corey Shirey
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CEO & Founder