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Family of 16-year-old who died on construction site: we are broken

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    Jeremy Finley (WSMV) — At sixteen, Gustavo Ramirez’s height and beard indicated he was well on his way to adulthood.

But to his sister, he was still just “key-kay,” the nickname for the baby of the family whose middle name was Enrique.

The youngest sibling in a family of six, his sister told News4 Investigates he was just trying to figure out to do with his life when it tragically and unexpectedly ended.

“He wanted to be with us. He wanted to talk to girls. He wanted to eat and travel and grow. He wanted to grow,” said Jenifer Enamorado, Ramirez’s sister.

Ramirez died last month when he fell 120 feet from scaffolding at the La Quinta Inn construction site on Interstate drive.

Police reported that he was not harnessed at the time.

News4 Investigates later confirmed with the general contractor, DF Chase, that Ramirez was hired by a subcontract without the company’s knowledge to do plaster work.

Enamorado said that Ramirez had taken the job to make money in the summer

“Do you feel that not enough was done to protect him on this construction site?” asked News4 Investigates.

“My feeling on the matter are irrelevant to the facts,” Enamorado said.

The family said they are not elaborating on what they feel happened until the investigators with TN OSHA release their findings.

To make matters even more difficult for the family, Ramirez’ 18 year old brother was also on the scaffolding that day.

“The amount of trauma our family has gone through- especially him – is the trauma you only see in movies,” said Enamorado said. “We are shocked, we are in disbelief, we are in pain, we are angry because he’s gone. And we’re broken. Broken is probably the word that encompasses all of those.”

On Friday, democratic lawmakers and metro council members held a joint news conference to call for greater scrutiny of the construction industry, discussing a need for more accountability for general contractors and more safeguards put in place to protect teenage workers.

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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