A lawyer representing Claridge Homes says foul play may have been involved in an incident at a downtown building on Wednesday where a construction worker was rescued from an elevator shaft.

Lawyer Michael Edelson alleges an unknown person purposely dropped a 20-pound fire extinguisher on a 28-year-old man who was working in the shaft at the Claridge construction site at 89 Nepean St. on Wednesday morning.

Ottawa Fire Services said it was contacted by paramedics at 8:51 a.m. to assist with the incident. Firefighters attached ropes to lift the man to safety.

Jeremy Doherty, paramedic commander with Ottawa Paramedic Service, confirmed in an email a male construction worker was hit by a fire extinguisher while working in an elevator shaft at the site.

“It appears the fire extinguisher fell from the wall and struck the individual … Paramedics transported the individual to the Civic hospital in stable condition,” Doherty said.

The worker suffered serious injuries to the left side of his shoulder and rib area, Edelson said.

Ottawa police said they are aware of the incident, but that there was no active criminal investigation as of Thursday, and that the province’s Ministry of Labour is the lead investigator.

Police added they can’t confirm or deny any investigation about a named person or organization unless a charge is laid.

Janet Deline, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Labour, said the ministry is investigating the incident at the site owned by Claridge Homes and has “issued one requirement.” Deline said she couldn’t reveal what was required as it is an ongoing investigation.

Edelson said the worker was preparing to pour concrete at the bottom of the elevator shaft when he was struck by a fire extinguisher that fell from an undetermined height.

Edelson said there are steel gates that block the elevator shaft on every floor — to prevent workers from falling in.

Edelson said Claridge Homes is co-operating with investigators and conducting an internal investigation.

A planning rationale on the city’s website said a mixed-use tower development is under construction at the site. One 27-storey mixed-use building was planned for 70 Gloucester St., and another 27-storey tower was planned for 89-91 Nepean St.


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