Car Washing Machine Fatality

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A worker who had been working with another CTA electrician on an ‘L’ train car washing machine in a CTA rail yard near Midway Airport, Chicago on July 17, 2009, was hit with a blast of stagnant water which struck him in the nose, mouth and face. The next day the worker, Pierce became very ill with an extremely high fever.

He was placed in an induced coma until he died on Aug. 5, 2009, according to the DuPage County coroner’s office.

To keep its buses and trains passenger-ready, CTA vehicles pass through high-power washers, where health officials say the bacterium that causes Legionnaire’s Disease could grow.

The suit claims Windmill Environmental Services LLC and manager Jerome W. Dykstra were responsible for maintaining high-powered pressure washers used to clean buses and trains.

The lawsuit alleges that Windmill Environmental and Dykstra failed to inspect and remove conditions that allowed the CTA washing tanks to become contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.

Pierce died Aug. 5, 2009, as a result of complications from Legionnaire’s Disease, the suit said. A spokesman from Windmill Environmental Services could not be reached for comment.

Pierce’s wife, Heather, is seeking more than $100,000 plus the cost of the suit from Windmill Environmental Services and Dykstra.

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