At times, I am unable to discover the ‘why’ of an event. I, like so many others, witness only the aftermath.
Such was the case with the death of Padraic Collum.
He went down into the basement of the Wadsworth Building on the corner of Washington Street and Elm. A short time later, his coworkers heard him scream, beg, and then the left side of the building collapsed.
By the time I arrived at the Wadsworth, Padraic was still screaming. An Irishman by birth, he had reverted to Gaelic, and I am thankful no others could understand what he was saying. It is not often you hear a man beg for death, nor hear his own voice answer that death is not coming.
When we cleared the rubble an hour later, Padraic had been silent for half that time.
I alone went down into the hole and saw what had become of him. Something had made an incision in his lower back and carefully eaten every organ. His legs were like deflated bags, the skin loose around the bone. Each scrap of muscle had been devoured the bones gnawed upon.
For several hours, I searched for what could have killed Padraic in such a way. I found nothing except a small tunnel, perhaps large enough for a small child. In the end, I convinced the owner of the Wadsworth to let me fill it.
I am hopeful such an event will never occur again.
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