July 6, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Pennsauken, NJ – The Federal Railroad Administration and the Camden County Prosecutor's Office are investigating the death of ironworker Walter Lenkowski III, 25, who fell off a bridge tower June 5.
Lenkowski, a five-year member of Ironworkers Local 399, had been part of a crew replacing cables on the Delair Memorial Drawbridge, a railroad bridge that connects Pennsauken and Philadelphia, “routine maintenance,” according to a Conrail spokesperson. He was high above the tracks, on one of the 1,500-ton counterweights attached to the cables that lift the bridge, when the “counterweight dropped a little bit” and “the bridge moved,” coworker Eugene White told the Camden Courier-Post. Authorities told the family that something had gone wrong with a hydraulic jack, said Tina Barber, Lenkowski’s sister, and Lenkowski, who was apparently in an enclosed area and not wearing a safety harness, fell 140 feet onto the tracks. “All I know is it wasn't protocol for them to be tied off,” Barber said. Lenkowski, a fourth-generation ironworker, and his girlfriend were expecting a daughter in September, who they planned to name Grace.
To donate to Grace Lenkowski's trust fund, make checks payable to the Walter F. Lenkowski III Memorial Benefit Fund, Ironworkers Local 399, 409 Crown Point Road, Westville, NJ, 08093. Read more