Family identifies worker presumed dead after silo collapse in Bristol Township

Thursday, January 8, 2015
VIDEO: Man believed dead after silo collapse
Crews are working to recover the body of a worker still trapped inside a collapsed silo.

BRISTOL TWP., Pa. (WPVI) -- A worker is presumed dead after a silo collapsed at an industrial warehouse overnight in Bucks County.

The collapse happened around midnight at an industrial warehouse complex in the 7900 block of North Radcliffe Street in Bristol Township.

"We are just basically waiting for them to find him. And my brother was a great guy, everybody loved him," said John Gabriele.

He is grieving the loss of his brother, 48-year-old Tony Gabriele of Tullytown, who was trapped sometime before his shift ended at midnight when a cement silo at the Riverside Industrial Complex collapsed.

Edgely Fire Company Chief Carl Pierce tells us, "We have made every effort we can to go through and search for the victim - technical rescue, local fire companies, rescue dogs. And at this point we have deemed that it was going to go from a rescue effort to a recovery effort."

Several fire departments and the Bucks County Technical Rescue Task Force responded to the scene trying to locate Gabriele in the debris, but couldn't.

Dr. David Jaslow of the Bucks County Technical Rescue explains, "This is the most complicated technical rescue incident you could ever come across in the United States. This is a combination of a building collapse and what we call an 'engulfment scenario' where all these potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds of dry concrete rushed down like an avalanche and bury everything in its sight."

Based on all of the factors, including the bitter cold, Dr. Jaslow determined there's no chance Gabriele could have survived the collapse and now the focus will be on recovering his body.

Bristol Township Fire Marshal Kevin Dippolito says, "We're going to use our expertise. We're going to methodically take this area apart until we successfully recover the victim. We have cranes on site that are ready to go that are going to start rigging this building and start pulling it apart. We're going to work from the top down and digging our way in as conditions allow us to."

Officials say they have no idea how long that will take, but they'll keep going until they find Gabriele's body.

Gabriele worked at the Silvi Company, located within the industrial complex.

Action News has learned that OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, will be investigating this accident.