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UM employee remains hospitalized after falling through skylight

Published On: Dec 24 2013 08:20:15 AM MST
Updated On: Oct 08 2013 06:31:17 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

A University of Montana employee remains hospitalized after falling through a a skylight Tuesday morning.

UM's Chief Engineer and Heating Plant Supervisor, 61-year-old Mike Burke, was working on the roof of the plant when he fell through a skylight and onto a boiler.

UM officials estimate he fell 15 to 20 feet. The boiler wasn't hot but he was stuck there for over an hour while emergency crews worked to get him down.

Late Tuesday afternoon UM's Vice President for Integrated Communications Peggy Kuhr said Burke was out of surgery and in the ICU.

Kuhr said UM recently replaced gas heat exchangers on the roof and crews had shut down one boiler so Burke could look at the damper position -- it's work he has done several times in the decades he's spent on the job.

It's still unclear why or how Burke fell.  UM's Environmental Health and Risk Management department is already reviewing the incident. Investigators will compile a report and decide if any changes need to be made to policy.

Kuhr said a workers' compensation claim has been opened for Burke. It's one of five workers comp claims for the heating plant in the last 10 years. Kuhr said this is the most serious accident that's ever happened at the plant.