Worker Who Died from Heat Stroke Identified
The construction worker who died after working Sunday in the heat at the University of Arkansas has been identified as David Lopez, officials said Thursday.
Lopez died of heat stroke after his body temperature reached 109 degrees, said Roger Morris, Washington County coroner.
Lopez, 39, was employed by Symmetry Turf of Mount Pleasant, Texas, and was “operating a forklift carrying turf for installation on the artificial practice field,” according to a statement the university released Tuesday. (See full statements below.
Lopez is the first known heat death in Washington County this year, Morris said.
The worker was driving a forklift and began showing symptoms of heat stroke, including being disoriented and having a headache, when co-workers rushed him to the emergency room at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Morris said.
Lopez died about 7 p.m. Monday, according to the statement.
Morris said heat stroke sets in when the body temperature reaches 104 degrees. He said normal body temperature is between 96-98.4 degrees.
Morris the workers at the site had been making periodic use of nearby shade and apparently were drinking fluids to remain hydrated, but Lopez became overheated despite those precautions.
The high temperature Sunday in Fayetteville was 97 degrees.
Statement released by the University of Arkansas:
“Flintco, LLC, construction manager for the University of Arkansas Football Operations Center expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the worker on that project who recently passed away. We are not releasing his name at this time out of consideration for his family’s privacy. The worker was an employee of Symmetry, a company employed by Shaw Sportex. His co-workers reported that Sunday morning he was operating a forklift carrying turf for installation on the artificial practice field. Our understanding at this time is that during lunch with his co-workers they noticed he had become ill and drove him to Washington Regional Medical Center for treatment. His condition worsened and he passed away Monday evening around 7 p.m.
For further questions contact Flintco, LLC, spokesperson, Dana Birkes at 918-629-0101.
The university also released this statement:
”The University of Arkansas community was saddened to learn Tuesday of the death of a construction worker who was helping build athletics facilities on campus. The employee was working for a contractor hired by the university to construct new practice fields for the football team. On behalf of the entire U of A family, we offer our condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.”