SWOYERSVILLE---Investigators said John Brdaric was in an excavator, working to demolish Holy Name/Saint Mary's Church in Swoyersville when part of the building collapsed on him before noon Monday.
People on scene rushed to help and managed to get him out, but Brdaric did not survive.
"I know John through the business, through demolition. John's very professional, it's just, I don't believe it happened," said Chris Samler, who works in the business in Luzerne County.
People in the contruction and demolition business said Brdaric is well known and well respected.
His company, based in Luzerne, recently demolished the Hotel Sterling in Wilkes-Barre.
"They were the people to do it. What people thought was gonna take months, in 4 days, they had it down. They were the pros to do it," said Matt Mikolaichik, who knows the family.
"I mean to take a 7 story building down, the Sterling, just perfect and something like this, it's just a freak accident," said Samler.
The Brdaric family has been hit by tragedy before. In 1991, Brdaric's father, John Paul Brdaric was killed when he was thrown from a roller and it rolled over him.
He was working a job in Dallas Township at the time.
John Paul Brdaric was 59-years-old when he died.
For workers like these, the latest Brdaric family tragedy is a real wake-up call and a reminder that what they do each day can be dangerous, even deadly.
"You have to, if you make one mistake, it can happen to anybody, basically the same way you came to work, that's how you want to go home," said Michael Ciupinski, who also knows the family.