Worker killed at Oscar theater site

Construction halted indefinitely

A construction worker was crushed to death Tuesday morning at the site of the new Oscar theater at Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard.

The worker was identified as Francisco Mendoza, 24, of suburban Norwalk. He died instantly after several large steel beams broke loose from straps holding them onto a crane, said L.A. Fire Dept. spokesman Bob Collis.

The foundation of the theater is taking shape about 60 feet below street level. Mendoza was on the foundation floor when the accident happened at about 8:30 a.m., Collis said.

Work was halted indefinitely, and traffic was bogged down for several hours around the theater site as authorities began investigating the accident.

Cause unclear

“It’s going to take them a while to figure out exactly what happened,” Collis said.

Officials at McCarthy Building Cos., which employed Mendoza, did not return calls for comment. McCarthy will participate in the accident probe.

In a statement, Jack Bousquet, veep of design and construction for San Diego-based TrizecHahn Development, developer and operator of the $430 million complex, said he was “deeply saddened.”

Bruce Davis, exec director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, offered condolences to Mendoza’s friends and family.

The Hollywood and Highland venue is slated to begin hosting the Oscars annually in 2002.

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