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Update – Fall Victim Undergoes Surgery – Currently in Intensive Care [AUDIO]

Heating Plant
Photo courtesy of University of Montana Relations

UPDATE – Tuesday, October 8, 5:00 p.m.

Peggy Kuhr, University of Montana Vice President for Integrated Communications, provided an update on the condition of UM building supervisor Mike Burke, who fell through a skylight nearly 20 feet onto the top of a large boiler in the heating plant.

“What I can tell you is that Mike underwent surgery today at St. Patrick Hospital, and is currently in stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit,” Kuhr said.

UM VP of Integrated Communications, Peggy Kuhr

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At about 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, October 8, a University of Montana employee fell through a skylight while working on the roof of the heating plant, dropping 15 to 20 feet onto a boiler below.

Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr said the injured employee is Mike Burke, 61, the building supervisor.

“He was on the roof of the heating plant building when he fell through a glass skylight onto one of the boilers,” Kuhr said. “He fell between 15 to 20 feet and was taken to the hospital in stable condition and was talking. We’re very grateful, because our number one concern is his safety and recovery.”

Kuhr said Burke and other employees were working on the boiler system.

“It was not unusual for Burke and other workers to be up on the roof, because we were shutting down one of our boilers so that we could work on exhaust gas heat exchangers on both boilers, so we needed to shut down one boiler to work on it,” Kuhr said. “He was up on the roof verifying the damper position when the accident happened.”

Kuhr said Burke had to wait on top of the boiler until the fire department could be called to safely transport him down to a waiting ambulance.

“The Missoula Fire Department was called in to get him off of the top of the boiler,” Kuhr said. “The fire chief and other university officials said they have conducted drills out at the heating plant helping to get someone off one of those boilers which are pretty high up.”

Kuhr outlined the next step for the university.

“What happens next is our university risk management people will take over to look at the accident and do a report,” Kuhr said.

Burke’s condition is unknown, but his injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr

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