OSHA Investigation into Construction Worker Death in Fire

Lakeville, Minnesota – State officials are investigating a fire and possible explosion at a housing development in Lakeville after a worker burned in the fire died as a result of his injuries.

Chris Cahoon, 35, was injured Thursday morning when a fire started in the basement of a house where he was doing construction work. Cahoon, who was a construction manager, had been checking heaters in the basement.

The Lakeville police and fire departments responded to a 9:30 a.m. 911 call and found Cahoon. He was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, and he died late Thursday afternoon.

The state fire marshal and Lakeville Fire Department are investigating the cause of the fire.

The state Occupational Safety and Health Division, often called Minnesota OSHA, started its investigation Friday.

Construction has been halted at the site during the investigations.

The Minnesota OSHA investigation will determine whether any of the agency’s workplace safety standards were violated. If there were violations, Lennar could face a $25,000 fatality penalty. If OSHA finds evidence of a “willful or repeated violation,” the penalty doubles.

Cahoon’s is Lakeville’s third workplace death in less than a year. In June, a 51-year-old man was killed in a trench collapse at a construction site, and in November, a 28-year-old man died in an industrial roller accident at a factory. OSHA investigations into both incidents are still open.