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

Monroe County

CHILI, N.Y. (WROC) — A heartbreaking loss of life in the Rochester community. Police say 56-year-old Robert “Bob” Fallone Jr. was killed in a construction accident Sunday morning. His community felt his loss keenly on Monday.

Neighbors, who declined to go on camera, said he was very involved in the community. Fallone was a member of the Rochester Home Builder’s Association. The CEO, Rick Herman, said that he came from a whole family of builders, including his father, brother, cousin. Fallone loved to build houses, and also owned a dental practice in Rochester, and a hotel and restaurant called “The Inn on Broadway.”

“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’d known Fallone his whole life. “I used to tell my kids: the problem with an accident, it takes a second to change everyone’s lives,” he said. “You can’t undo it.”

Police say Fallone and another private contractor were working on a property in Chili. They say the two were digging a 15-foot trench to access an underground sewer. But it caved in on him, taking Fallone’s 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. “He was an absolutely wonderful, positive, happy, smiling, warm, pleasant guy,” said Iacovangelo. “Always was.”

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,” said Malone. “This happens on a weekly basis—maybe not a fatality, level but still having some issues—no doubt about it.”

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.” 

The investigation is ongoing with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department. OSHA is conducting an independent investigation, as well.

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