Family sues CSX after man falls to death while trying to urinate

Posted: July 26, 2012

A WILMINGTON MAN fell to his death from a bridge while urinating because a railroad company failed to provide portable toilets for its workers, according to two federal lawsuits filed by relatives.

Bernard Burrows, 58, had been a bridge mechanic for 38 years with CSX Transportation, which has offices in Grays Ferry, when he fell to his death on Sept. 19, 2011.

According to two lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia — one filed by Burrows' wife, the other by his son — Burrows and other men were working to repair rail and ties on a bridge over an island on the Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Perryville, Md., but no portable toilets were provided.

Burrows' son, Raymond, who was also working at the site as a foreman, said that with no available toilet, workers were forced to "urinate and defecate over the side of the bridge," according to his suit.

Unbeknownst to the workers, however, a large hole on the bridge was covered by an unsecured platform, the suit said. When Bernard Burrows went to the bridge to relieve himself, he walked on the platform, which buckled, and he fell 90 feet to the island below. He died as a result of the injuries.

In a written statement, CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said he could not comment on pending litigation, but wrote: "We were saddened by the death of our colleague, Mr. Burrows, in this tragic accident."

Reach Stephanie Farr at farrs@phillynews.com or 215-854-4225. You can also follow her on Twitter @FarFarrAway.

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