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Father of Three Dies After Falling Into Sewer During Storm

By DNAinfo Staff on September 19, 2013 6:42am  | Updated on September 19, 2013 2:10pm

 Gustavo Briceno, a maintenance worker who died after falling into an Avondale sewer during Wednesday night's storm, with his wife, Sandra Hernandez.
Maintenance Worker Dies
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CHICAGO — Federal investigators are looking into the death of a maintenance worker who died after falling into an Avondale sewer during Wednesday night's storm.

Investigators were sent to the 3000 block of North Rockwell Street where the man fell in a deluge about 9:30 p.m., said Scott Allen, a local spokesman for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"We have opened an investigation and have sent investigators to the scene," Allen said.

Investigators plan to talk to witnesses as well as employees and management of Kenny Construction to see if any worker safety laws were violated.

With the help of robotic cameras, the man's body was found by authorities at 11:05 p.m. near Barry Avenue and Rockwell Street, about a block from where he fell in, fire officials said.

The man was identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office as Gustavo Briceno Jr., a 24-year-old from Glendale Heights.

The accident happened after the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for Wednesday night that predicted heavy rainfall and winds of up to 40 mph.

Neither police nor fire officials could explain why work was being done in the sewers during such a weather warning. Briceno fell into the sewer as water levels in the area were rising, according to the Fire Department.

Though sewer workers usually work in tandem, harnessed together, Briceno's body was found unharnessed, fire officials said.

A statement from Kenny Construction released Thursday said the cause of the incident was unknown.

"Kenny Construction places the highest value on safety," the statement said. "We are working cooperatively with authorities on the investigation."

Briceno's widow, Sandra Hernandez, told CBS2 that she learned about her husband's death on Facebook.

Briceno was the father of three children, ages 3, 4 and 8.

Hernandez said that her husband's greatest fear was of drowning in a sewer.

"That was his biggest fear, to die down there," she told the station.