Victim worked on Arsenal construction project, official says

An employee for a sub-contractor working on a construction project at the Pine Bluff Arsenal apparently was electrocuted Tuesday when a section of a 20-foot steam pipe he was removing came in contact with an overhead electrical line, a public affairs officer for the Army Corps of Engineers confirmed Wednesday.

Laurie Driver said a preliminary investigation indicated Ryan Bullard, an employee of Snyder Environmental, was preparing to remove a section of pipe supported by hanger straps when the pipe slipped in the strap and one end struck the power line.

Driver said Bullard was working on a “man left” about 15-feet above the ground when the accident occurred.

The Corps and Arsenal have formed a board of investigation to determine the cause of the fatal accident and ways to avoid similar accidents in the future, she said.

The Corps is responsible for design and construction work at the military installation.

Arsenal public affairs spokesman Cheryl Avery referred all questions to Driver, who indicated Snyder Environmental is a sub-contractor for Carson and Associates, which was awarded a $20.9 million contract in May 2010 to remove and replace steam lines at the arsenal as part of a project to install a more efficient heating and cooling system.

Joe Carter, president and chief executive officer of Snyder Environmental, confirmed Bullard, 28, of Mayflower, was the company employee fatally injured in the accident.

“The Snyder Environmental family is mourning the loss of one of our team members in a tragic accident Tuesday afternoon,” Carter said in a prepared statement. “We are working with investigators at the scene of the accident and will provide additional information when it becomes available…” He asked the media to respect the privacy of the family.

A doctor pronounced Bullard dead in the Jefferson Regional Medical Center emergency room at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday, Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley said.

Emergency communications dispatchers were alerted by a call from the Arsenal at 2:53 p.m., Kelley said, adding the body was to be sent to the state Crime Laboratory in Little Rock Wednesday to determine the cause and manner of death.

Snyder Environmental, headquartered in North Little Rock, provides remediation of environmental issues, including abatement and removal of asbestos.