Days after a mining accident in East Quogue killed an employee on Friday, authorities identified the victim on Monday as a Riverhead resident and longtime employee of East Coast Mines and Materials.
According to Southampton Town Police, a mulch fire broke out at the open-pit sand mine about 1:10 p.m., which 50-year-old Declan Boland attempted to put out. While trying to extinguish it, according to Sgt. Lisa Costa, an avalanche of mulch and soil dropped the materials out from underneath him, burying him under six to eight feet of soil.
Carrie Tintle, co-owner of the Lewis Road company, described Mr. Boland as a “very hard worker, and a very wonderful person. Everybody adored him and we’re not going to get over the loss.”
Ms. Tintle said Mr. Boland was on his way up the hill to put out the fire as the soil collapsed, though a coworker nearby was untouched in the incident, which is under investigation by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration. The MSHA enforces health and safety standards for mining operations.
“It was totally just a freak accident,” Ms. Tintle said.
Mr. Boland had worked for the company since 1987 and was a plant mechanic.The East Quogue fire department and ambulance responded to the scene, and CPR was administered, Sgt. Costa said. Mr. Boland was taken by ambulance to Peconic Bay Medical Center. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Sgt. Costa said a secondary investigation is being conducted in conjunction with the MSHA.
His family declined to comment on Monday. Funeral and visitation services will be private.
With reporting from Carol Moran of The Southampton Press