SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KTVU) - Family and friends are mourning the death of a construction worker, killed after he was hit by a steel beam in the Twin Peaks Tunnel in San Francisco on Friday.
Loved ones have identified him as 51-year-old Patrick Ricketts, who lives in the City of Williams in the Sacramento area. Ricketts has worked in construction for 15 years and leaves behind a wife of more than 20 years and two adult children.
“I fell apart,” said Tony Owens, family friend. “I started calling friends and family to get them in a prayer chain. It’s pretty tough to take. He's been my best friend for close to 30 years. He’s touched a lot of people's lives. He was a good man, a great man.”
Ricketts was employed by Shimmick Construction based in Oakland. SFMTA manages the improvement project for the 100-year-old tunnel. Ricketts was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital, where he died. SFMTA said at the time, 40 workers were evacuated from inside the tunnel.
“Safety is always our number one priority,” said SFMTA Deputy Spokeswoman Erica Kato. “It is our top concern. Right now what we are focusing on is making sure everything is safe for our staff and our contractors to resume work on the site.”
Nearby business, who saw the first responders, were stunned to hear about the death.
“Everyone was mortified, horrified and sad,” said Charly Kayle who works at Vin Debut. “Everyone was hoping he'd be okay. Construction sites are dangerous.”
“I’m not sure if it dropped or it just swung,” said Owens. “If it's a steel beam, it’s probably a thousand pounds. It doesn't have to hit you too hard in the head I don't think but just how he was in the wrong place.”
Mayor London Breed released a statement that said in part, “We are saddened to hear about the passing of a signal technician who was working in the Twin Peaks Tunnel yesterday evening. Our sincerest condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time.”
SFMTA was anticipating to reopen the tunnel at the end of the month. It's been shut down since June. It’s yet to be determined when work will resume.