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Workman killed at North Canaan site

NORTH CANAAN — A fatal accident in which a workman at a railroad crossing project was run over by a railroad company excavator drew emergency rescuers to the scene on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Details of the incident remain sketchy; the investigation is ongoing.  Lt. Seth Mancini, commanding officer of the State Police at Troop B, said on Thursday, Oct. 15, that in addition to the State Police, investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are involved.  

The accident took the life of Warren Thomson, 59, of Monterey, Mass., who was replacing a section of track at the construction site when the Housatonic Railroad Company excavator operator failed to see him in time.  Thomson was an employee of the Housatonic Railroad Company.

According to the police report prepared by Trooper Matthew Harrington, the accident occurred on the tracks behind 2 Gandolfo Drive. The excavator was operating on the tracks.

The Canaan Fire Company ambulance service was first to respond to the scene, according to North Canaan Fire Chief Brian Allyn, who was reached for comment on Thursday, Oct. 15.  Allyn said that emergency services had been summoned at around 2:45 p.m.

Allyn reported that he reached the scene soon after the ambulance crew was already tending to Thomson. “When I got there, the ambulance crew had placed him on a stretcher and were bringing him to the ambulance,” Allyn recalled. The State Police responded at around 2:59 p.m., according to their report.

Describing it as a “tragic accident,” Allyn praised the work of all emergency personnel. “Everyone did everything they were supposed to do,” he said, adding that the procedures went smoothly.

A Life Star helicopter arrived at the scene, but it was not used. Thomson was transported by North Canaan ambulance to Sharon Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Thomson was a lifelong member of the Monterey Fire Department, contributing 45 years of active service to that department. Today, there are 22 members serving.  

Commemorating Thomson’s service, the department posted last week that Thomson had been a “jack of all trades” over the years, with talents as a mechanic, electrician and skilled pump operator and that he could be counted on as an overall problem solver.

Allyn said that investigators were on the scene on Oct. 15 and were expected to return on Friday.  Their report is expected in the near future.

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