FREEPORT — A worker on a landscaping crew died Tuesday morning in Freeport when he was crushed by granite that was being held up by a forklift.
Scott MacDonald, 59, of Limington was helping the operator of a Bobcat skid-steer loader when the forks, loaded with granite steps, suddenly dropped on him, police said.
MacDonald was part of a three-man crew from Coastal Landscape, Construction and Snow Services of Cumberland, which was working on the steps of a shopping plaza at 136-140 Main St. The building houses Olympia Sports, Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro and Subway in the downtown Freeport shopping district.
Authorities will examine the loader to determine whether a mechanical problem could have contributed to the accident.
MacDonald had been a mason for more than 30 years, and until recently owned his own company, Creative Masonry & Design Inc., said his daughter, Tiffany MacDonald. Her father was especially proud of the high-end artistic pieces he created, she said.
“That was his passion. He was such a creative mind. He could make beautiful fireplaces and various stone structures,” she said.
MacDonald had recently started working in granite sculpture. At the recent Portland flower show, he displayed a lion’s paw birdbath he had made and another in the likeness of a polar bear.
“He didn’t draw or paint,” Tiffany MacDonald said. “He wasn’t creative in any other form. (Stonework) was his main form of creativity. He liked to go through the process and see it done.”
She described her father as a large man – 6 feet, 5 inches, with big, strong hands. She said masonry takes its toll on a man, but a deadly injury is very rare.
“It can be dangerous. The usual thing, scraped knuckles. Working that line of business, obviously his body was pretty tore up, just the harshness of working outside, working with big pieces of rock or brick,” she said.
Besides his daughter, MacDonald is survived by his wife and two sons.
MacDonald and the man who was operating the loader were trying to remove its door when the forks dropped, police said. MacDonald was killed instantly when the granite fell on him.
The accident occurred just before 9 a.m. Freeport police and fire crews responded. None of the other workers was injured.
The plaza where the accident occurred has a landscaped central courtyard descending to a lower level, where the parking lot is located. The crew was working on the granite steps in that courtyard, police said.
Freeport police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating MacDonald’s death.
OSHA records show that Coastal Lawn Care was fined after a 19-year-old worker who was riding on the tailgate of a pickup truck fell when the tailgate gave way, hit his head and died on May 6, 2004.
The records show that the company was fined $2,285 because of the accident and other violations found in an inspection. According to the citation, the company should not have exposed workers to a serious fall by allowing them to ride in the bed of a pickup truck.
An online profile of Coastal Lawn Care on the business listing service Manta lists Craig Wright as president, and lists the address as Falmouth. Wright also is listed as president of Coastal Landscape Construction and Snow Services, based in Cumberland.
A web link to coastallawncare.com redirects to Coastal Landscape, Construction and Snow Services’ website.
A person who answered the telephone Tuesday at Coastal Landscape, Construction and Snow Services said nobody at the company wanted to comment on the accident. Wright could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.