A Texas construction worker initially accused of being high before he died actually died of heat stroke while working in the hot sun in June 2022, according to a lawsuit filed last month.
Gabriel Infante, 24, was installing fiber optic cables in San Antonio for his employer B Comm Constructors LLC on June 23, 2022, when he began showing signs of heat stress. He eventually succumbed to heat stroke hours later at a hospital, the lawsuit says.
His mother, Velma Infante, filed the lawsuit against B Comm Constructors LLC on the first anniversary of the incident, alleging that the construction company failed to protect her son from «the known dangers associated with extreme heat conditions» while he was working.
Velma seeks $1,000,000 in damages.
“Workers are not and should not be expendable assets to be used and abused in this extreme Texas heat without reasonable protections against the very real dangers of serious injury or death,” said attorney Bob Hilliard, who is representing Velma in the case. «No project and no deadline should take precedence over ensuring that every worker returns home safely to his or her family at the end of a work day.»
Infante was working at a site near 10451 Fork Creek with his colleague and childhood friend, Joshua Espinoza, when he began displaying signs of heat stress, including «confusion, dizziness, altered mental status, and loss of consciousness,» the lawsuit says. Infante fell to the ground twice and hit his head on the concrete.
Temperatures on June 23, 2022 reached a high of 102 degrees in San Antonio, according to Accuweather.com.
A foreman at the site initially believed that Infante was under the influence of drugs and ordered Espinoza to call the police. Espinoza called emergency medical services, who reported that Infante was showing signs of heat stroke. The foreman still demanded that EMS perform a drug test, according to the lawsuit.
Infante was taken to the emergency room of a local hospital, where its temperature registered at 109.8 degrees Fahrenheit in transit.
According to the CDC, «heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness» and occurs when the body’s temperature rises rapidly and it is unable to cool down. During heat stroke, body temperatures can reach 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, causing permanent disability or death if the person does not receive emergency help.
Infante died on June 24, 2022 at 2:25 a.m. His autopsy revealed that he died of heat stroke, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit accuses B Comm Constructors LLC of gross negligence for instructing Infante and other employees to work in the heat, failing to have a heat-related illness program, and «failing to develop a work/rest cycle based on validated measures of heat stress,» among other things.
B Comm Constructors LLC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.