Man's fiancèe worried about his safety while working at building that collapsed

Man's fiancèe worried for his safety at building that collapsed
(Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)
(Source: Sharon Yoo/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As inspectors try to pin-point why a West End building collapsed Friday, we are learning more details about the man who was crushed and killed in the accident.

Now that what was left of the building has been completely demolished, only a few traces remain of what the building used to be at 28th Street and Grand Avenue.

From crushed shopping carts to leftover chicken, all signs indicate the site used to be a meat market. It's where 71-year-old John Dozier worked and was killed.

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Jacqueline Whitaker says when she saw the building had collapsed on TV, she knew her fiancée was there.

"I looked at the news and they said, they found one body. I said, 'That's got to be John,'" Whitaker said.

She wasn't too far away from the market when she heard the report. Whitaker says she immediately left to find him.

"I walked on down there then they said, 'Yes, he was too far…for us to get,'" Whitaker recalled. "And they said they did find the body, but he wasn't alive."

Whitaker says for the 18 years they lived together, Dozier was a hard-working man, taking odd jobs to make ends meet. Whitaker says she didn't like that Dozier worked at Les's Meat Market for safety reasons.

"It was bad!" she said. "Really bad, for anybody, even his—Les—even his son to work in there. It was really bad."

She says she discouraged Dozier from working there after he fell through the ceiling in the past. He had a visit to the emergency room after that but continued to work at the market on and off.

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As for the building, it was known around the Parkland neighborhood for being structurally unsound.

"I was thinking that building would fall down because the way it was looking when I drive past it—and it did!" Victor Bobbitt said. "I couldn't believe it, so I had
to come and see."

In the midst of all the disbelief, the neighborhood is asking for one thing—responsibility.

"People in the community feel like the owner needs to step up and handle funeral expenses," explained Jerald Muhammad, a community activist. "We don't like what happened and we want to send a message: if you're going to come into our community and do business, you have to do business right."

The owner of the market declined to comment on camera Saturday, but repeated that he was very sorry for the life that was lost. He says he's not leaving the neighborhood and that he is determined to rebuild his building in the same location in a few months.

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