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Hillsboro construction worker among those who died during historic heat wave

A construction worker was hospitalized with heat stress and later died after doing a roofing inspection in Hillsboro.
Credit: KGW News

HILLSBORO, Ore. — The state is investigating a construction company after a worker died from heat stress on the job during Oregon's record-setting heat wave.

On June 28, the man was working for Robinson Construction at a commercial project site in Hillsboro, according to Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A preliminary report said the man was doing a roofing inspection for a potential leak from a condensate line. When he came down off the roof, he got sick and collapsed. 

He was hospitalized with heat stress and later died. A spokesman for Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, the local tradespeople union, said the man passed away July 9. 

Robinson Construction Company is an independent general contracting and construction management company based in the Pacific Northwest.

"We have an open investigation with Robinson Construction," Oregon OSHA public information officer Aaron Corvin wrote in an e-mail to KGW. "We do not discuss the status or details of open investigations."

The historic heat wave in late June is responsible for at least 115 confirmed and suspected deaths across the state. Out of the 83 confirmed deaths, 31 were women and 52 were men.

Their preliminary cause of death is hyperthermia, which is an abnormally high body temperature caused by a failure to deal with heat.

An Oregon farm worker was among those who died. Oregon OSHA is also investigating that death after Sebastian Francisco Perez collapsed at a nursery in St. Paul, Ore. during the record-breaking temperatures. Workers found him unconscious and dying in the field. 

RELATED: 'It's a crisis': Advocates push for more protections for Oregon farmworkers after deadly heat wave

The heat wave began on June 25. Portland set new heat records on three consecutive days, peaking at 116 degrees on June 28.

RELATED: Portland hits 116 degrees, setting new all-time high record

In a news conference on July 12, several of the state's emergency officials joined Governor Kate Brown to discuss the state's response.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Andrew Phelps said the state needs to move as quickly as possible to better our understanding of what happened and be proactive to prepare for future events.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the state will review its response to the heat wave and make sure Oregonians are better prepared for more extreme heat waves in the future. 

RELATED: Oregon emergency officials discuss state's response to deadly heat wave

Phelps said the review will be done and recommendations will be submitted to the governor by the end of July.

We are working to learn more details and will update this story as we learn more.

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