‘A good man’: Second scaffolding collapse victim was 2 weeks away from retirement, family says

CHARLOTTE — Support is growing for the families of three men killed after scaffolding collapsed on a job site in Dilworth.

The men who died were identified as Jesús “Chuy” Olivares, José Canaca and Gilberto Mónico Fernández by people, including family, who knew them.

On Tuesday, Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz sat down with family members as they try to figure out how to move forward.

Gilberto’s brother and sister-in-law revealed that he was planning to retire just two weeks away on Jan. 15. Arturo Mónico and Maria Alcantara told Channel 9 that Gilberto was a good man who always helped others.

Editors Note: Alcantara spoke in English to Channel 9 but said Spanish was her first language. Channel 9 has paraphrased her interview in this story.

“He has many friends. They told me they love him because he was a good man, a helpful man, everything,” Alcantara said.

Alcantara said he was a dedicated worker and he wanted to make enough money to take care of his family in Mexico. She said Gilberto’s focus was to make sure his kids and grandkids were taken care of.


“He wants to keep his family in Mexico good because they want to give you school for the kids,” Gilberto’s sister-in-law expressed.

Alcantara said the family was worried when Gilberto took the construction job in Dilworth. They said it was much bigger than any job he had been on before.

“He worked for another job there ... only two floors or three floors, not too high. So when we see him working this job, why are you working there? Because something can happen. And he says it’s good money for him and he was safe, but I don’t believe he was safe,” Alcantara said.

On Monday, Gilberto fell 70 feet after scaffolding collapsed on a job site in Dilworth. He and two others died as a result. Now his family is advocating for the safety of others, so this never happens again.

“He said ‘I’ll be fine. I’ll be good. Nothing will happen to me. I am strong.’ And I say no because that happened yesterday,” Alcantara told Channel 9.

Gilberto’s brother Arturo said he was feeling a wave of emotions. He said he was angry and sad but mostly wanted to see change.

He told Channel 9 that he wants justice for those who died yesterday, as well as for others who work in the construction industry.

Gilberto’s family said they have set up a GoFundMe so his body can be reunited with his family in Mexico. You can donate here.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte Fire: 3 dead, 2 hurt in scaffolding collapse at Dilworth construction site)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.