Fort Worth

Man falls 40 feet from billboard in Fort Worth, suffers life-threatening injuries

A man working to repair the platform beneath a billboard in south Fort Worth suffered life-threatening injuries after falling about 40 feet to the concrete parking lot below, authorities said.

The incident happened just before 11 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of the El Rio Grande supermarket near the intersection of Interstate 35W and Berry Street.

The worker suffered multiple traumatic injuries, spokesmen for the Fort Worth Fire Department and MedStar confirmed. He was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital.

The injured man was not identified by authorities, but was known as “Dario” to a co-worker who said he’s known the man for a few months as a crew member for Total Outdoor Services, a Garland-based company. Authorities said the man appeared to be in his early 30s.

The co-worker, 29-year-old Basilio Ortiz, said Dario was working on the opposite side of the billboard when he fell through a gap created in the platform as the crew worked to replace weak boards on it.

He dangled about five seconds from his harness before falling to a section of the parking lot shared with the Iglesia Cristiana Palacio del Rey church, Ortiz said.

“It was terrible, he was screaming ‘Help me! Help me!’” Ortiz said.

The man struggled to move his arms and legs, Ortiz said.

After calling 911, Ortiz said he was instructed to keep Dario as still as possible, to speak to him, to not let him move his head and to not let him fall asleep.

“You don’t want to see anybody fall like that,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said he and the rest of the crew were too shaken up by the incident to resume work Thursday.

The underside of a billboard in Fort Worth where a man fell Thursday morning, critically injuring himself. Stephen English
Stephen English: 817-390-7330, @sbenglish74