‘He was absolutely wonderful’: Fatal construction accident in Chili shakes community

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CHILI, N.Y. (WROC) — A heartbreaking loss of life in the Rochester community. Police say 56-year-old Robert Fallone Jr. was killed in a construction accident Sunday morning. 

News 8 set out on Monday to learn more about his life, and his impact in the community.

Neighbors, who declined to go on camera, told News 8’s Eriketa Cost he was very involved in the community. He loved to build houses, was a dentist, a business owner and friend.

“Painful, painful,” said Bernie Iacovangelo describing the moment he heard the news. Iacovangelo, a Monroe County GOP chairman and member of the building community says he knew Fallone his whole life.

“You know I used to tell my kids, the problem with an accident, it takes a second to change everyone’s lives you can’t undo it,” he said.

Police say Fallone, and another man of a private contractor were working on a piece of property at Bellaqua Estates Drive in Chili. They say the two were digging a 15 foot trench, to access an underground sewer — when it caved in on Fallone, taking his life.

Iacovangelo wasn’t super close with Fallone due to their 20 year age gap. But he’s known him his whole life — in the professional world, and in personal circles.

Both of their families actually came over to America from the same city in Italy.

“For me he was an absolutely wonderful, positive, happy, smiling, warm, pleasant guy, always was,” said Iacovangelo. 

Grant Malone, president of Rochester Building and Construction Trades Council says he’s been in construction almost 40 years — and unfortunately — has seen incidents similar to this one.

“A lot of them you might not hear about unless it’s a fatality, but this happens on a weekly basis, maybe not a fatality level but still having same issues no doubt about it,” said Malone.

For people who knew him, like Iacovangelo, Fallone is remembered as someone with an endless stream of ideas; someone who wanted to serve his community.

“One of those people that have a view towards what could be,” said Iacovangelo. “Absolutely great visionary.” 

Fallone was also a member of Rochester Home Builder’s Association. The CEO Rick Herman tells News 8 he comes from a whole family of builders — his father, brother, cousin. Fallone also owned a dental practice in Rochester, and a hotel and restaurant, called “The Inn on Broadway”.

The investigation is ongoing with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

OSHA is conducting an independent investigation as well.

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