Fayette County

Coroner: 38-year-old father dies in elevator fall in downtown Lexington building

The coroner was called to a building on Main Street in Lexington after reports of an elevator accident.
The coroner was called to a building on Main Street in Lexington after reports of an elevator accident. mstunson@herald-leader.com

A 38-year-old man fell down an elevator shaft to his death Thursday in a building under construction in downtown Lexington, according to the Fayette County coroner.

Travis Collins fell 14 to 16 feet at the work site at about 1:30 p.m., said Coroner Gary Ginn. The cause of the fall isn’t yet known. Collins was the father of several children.

Ginn said he could not definitively say the fall was an accident.

“We’re not clear what exactly happened and we hope the autopsy will determine the exact cause of death,” he said. “We are calling this a death investigation right now. We don’t know if there was an accidental falling or if there was some type of medical problems that this gentleman had.”

Collins was working as a contractor setting up HVAC systems on the roof of the building, Ginn said.

The building is called Field & Main. It was sold in April 2016 for $1.2 million and is being converted into a five-story mixed-use building. According to the development plan, the first floor will be a bank and the second through fifth stores will have 24 two-bedroom condominiums.

The building’s developer, Jeff Morgan, said he has no comment on the fatality shortly after it happened Thursday. “Until I understand more, I just can’t,” Morgan said.

The building is next to Main + Rose, which has businesses on the ground floor with condos on upper floors.

Co-workers of Collins told Ginn he was easy to get along with.

“He was a team player. He was all about safety and even ... warned (his coworkers) about different things,” Ginn said.

Because it was a workplace incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was called to the site to review what happened. The agency investigates workplace accidents and deaths.

“We want to make sure all of that protocol was in place, so we know it wasn’t something that wasn’t done that might have caused his death,” Ginn said. “That’s why OSHA is here.”

It’s the second workplace fatality in the three days in Lexington. Tuesday, Anthony “Andy” T. Schanding died after an accident at the UPS Customer Center on Mercer Road. The exact cause of Schanding’s injuries and the circumstances surrounding the accident have not been released publicly. His family said Wednesday night that he was known for being careful and cautious at work.

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