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Officials ID worker who died in construction accident near North Pole

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: June 21, 2017
  • Published June 21, 2017

An equipment operator died Monday afternoon in a rollover accident near North Pole, according to police and federal officials.

The victim, Melvin C. McLaurin of Chicago, was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee, Corps spokesperson Dena O'Dell said in a statement. McLaurin worked as a lead engineering equipment operator with the Corps' Chicago District; he was on temporary assignment in Alaska, O'Dell said.

McLaurin is survived by his wife and son, O'Dell said.

"The accident occurred at about 3:50 p.m. on the Chena Flood Control Project Road and involved a piece of construction equipment," O'Dell wrote. "The North Pole Police Department, Alaska State Troopers and North Pole Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene. The victim was declared dead at 4:18 p.m. by medical personnel."

O'Dell said McLaurin was working on the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project, a $200 million dam and levee system built near Fairbanks in the wake of a devastating 1967 flood. Crews were installing relief wells at the time of his death.

Melvin C. McLaurin of Chicago died in a rollover accident while working on the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project near North Pole, Alaska. The accident is under investigation. (Photo Courtesy of Army Corps of Engineers)

"He was operating a roller-compactor on a stability berm," O'Dell said. "It was a single-vehicle rollover."

The accident is being investigated by the Corps and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, O'Dell said.