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Man falls to his death in building

June 21, 2011

WOONSOCKET — An apparent accident at the former St. Francis House apartment building at 167 Blackstone St. claimed the life of a relative of the building’s owner Tuesday afternoon.
Alan Fernandes, 49, of Woonsocket, stepped on a glass skylight in the floor of the building’s attic and fell four flights down the open stairwell below to the building’s basement, according to Woonsocket Police Lt. Eugene Jalette.
Fernandes, brother of the building’s owner Gary Fernandes, was transported by city rescue personnel to Landmark Medical Center where he later died, according to Jalette.
Gary Fern-andes is conducting a major renovation of the former assisted living apartment building after having purchased it from the Diocese of Providence. Gary Fernandes, who has renovated several properties in the city including the River Falls complex at Market Square, was not at the building at the time of the accident and arrived at the scene after emergency personnel, Jalette said.
Alan Fernandes is believed to have stopped in at the building to check on the work going on there, Jalette said. He had gone up the staircase and into the attic area where the accident occurred. The skylight in the floor was below another skylight the building’s roof and may have been installed when the building was constructed to help light the stairway below.
“It was a tragedy, it really was,” Jalette said. “You have people working to improve a property and something like this happens.”
Police were investigating the death as a possible industrial accident due to the renovation work but could not make that ruling definitively Tuesday.
The federal Occupational, Health and Safety Administration was notified of the incident and sent investigators to the scene to assist the department in its investigation, Jalette said. The state Medical Examiner’s Office was expected to complete an autopsy.
The Fernandes brothers are members of a well-known city family that has operated a number of popular local businesses both in the Main Street area and in the Social District over the years. Gary Fernandes has made his mark in the city with major renovations of several historic properties including River Falls, the Jenckes family mansion on Social Street and the former city Court House building at Court Street. He began work on conversion of the circa 1934 St. Francis House to private apartments last winter in a project city officials lauded for ending the no-longer used building’s deepening disrepair.


To Fernandes Family

June 25, 2011 by rarcha (not verified), 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 453

I'm so sorry, to the family, what a tragity. From the few times I met Alan was always a pleasure to talk with and will be greatly missed. God Bless All

I'm so sorry!

June 23, 2011 by jeanbaker (not verified), 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 446

Words could not express how sad I am for the loss of Al! When hearing of the accident on tuesday, I just kept hoping it wasn't one of the Fernandes's! I met Al working at the Annex Diner, and what kept me excited about going to work was seeing all of you guys. Gary would be reading his paper while Al always joked with me. The hardest part of my last day working there was saying goodbye to you all. My heart breaks for the family during this tragedy and untimely death of one of the most caring and fun loving men I have ever met! You will be in my thoughts and prayers! Love always, Jeana

Great Sympathy to the Entire Fernandes Family.

June 23, 2011 by Rachel Chase (not verified), 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 443

Our Heart felt Prayers go out to the Entire Fernandes Family. In this difficult and tragic time. The loss of Allen is deeply felt by everyone who ever knew him. He Will Never be Forgotten. May God Bless His Soul. And the Entire Fernandes Family. Sincerely, Ms. Rachel M. Chase RN. & Allen's Buddies, Edward Rifenburgh Jr., James Chase & Timothy Chase.

Man falls to death in building accident.

June 22, 2011 by bulldog69 (not verified), 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 442

So sad my sympathy to all his family and friends.

I am so sorry for the sudden

June 24, 2011 by Gail Ferland (not verified), 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 451

I am so sorry for the sudden lost of you love one. My sympathy to all family members and friends

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