Philly City Council Passes Construction Tax

Tropicana Reopens Hotel, But Work Halted After Accident

Mon November 17, 2003 - Northeast Edition
CEG



ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) The Tropicana Casino and Resort on Nov. 6 reopened a 600-room hotel tower and parking garage that had been closed since a construction accident killed four people.

Both had remained closed while crews worked on a concrete wall that was left unsupported after the deadly parking garage collapse on Oct. 30.

Workers were able to bring that wall down to a safe level Thursday, Nov. 6, Tropicana spokeswoman Maureen Siman said.

“We’ve already begun checking in guests into those rooms,” she said. “We’re already at capacity.”

Security guards had helped guests retrieve belongings from the tower that was evacuated after the collapse. Another parking garage and pedestrian bridge remain closed, but all rooms are now open again, she said.

Meanwhile, funeral services were held Tuesday, Nov. 4, for two construction workers who died in the accident. The emotional funeral services were attended by many of the men who had worked alongside them.

In separate services, 21-year-old cement mason Scott Pietrosante and 29-year-old ironworker James P. Bigelow Sr., were given tearful goodbyes by colleagues, family members and friends.

“It’s a tough one. You’re not supposed to bury your children,” said Bob DeMarchi, a second cousin to Pietrosante.

Pietrosante, of Milmay, was working near his brother, 25-year-old John Pietrosante, at the unfinished Tropicana Casino and Resort parking garage.

The older Pietrosante walked off the floor to get a ladder and when he returned, he saw the top five floors of the 10-story building collapse, burying his younger brother.

Pietrosante, who followed his father and older brother into the cement trade, was killed along with three other workers.

Born in Vineland, NJ, he was an avid hunter, fisherman and outdoor sportsman.

“He was a great kid — 21 years old, just getting his life together, with a good job and a fiancee,” said DeMarchi, who was among 150 mourners to turn out for a 70-minute funeral Mass at Our Lady of Pompeii Church in Vineland.

“There are a lot of questions that there are no answers for,” the Rev. Peter Saporito told them. “The biggest question is, ’Why?’ But now is not the time to blame. Now is the time to pray for Scott, and for the others who died or were injured.”

The memories that are so painful now will someday bring smiles to their faces, Saporito told the mourners.

Bigelow, of Egg Harbor Township, NJ, was installing hand rails in a stairwell of the garage when the collapse occurred. A former apprentice of the year for Ironworkers Union Local 350, he was an auto racing buff who recently bought a Chevrolet Malibu and put it into racing shape.

But he never had a chance to race it.

“He was a good-hearted guy, hardworking and a great family man,” said his aunt, Anna Mack, 53, of Egg Harbor Township, one of hundreds of mourners to file into Adams-Perfect Funeral Home in Northfield for a viewing and service.

Married with a 2-year-old son, Bigelow — known as “Deuce” to co-workers — had recently bought a house for his family and was especially proud of that, according to Mack.

Mourners wiped tears away and hugged each other for comfort at the funeral parlor. Bigelow’s mother, Margorie Griffiths, was overcome with grief after arriving and was carried away by two men before she got inside. An ambulance was summoned and took her away.