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Butler man who kicked drugs, helped others, killed at work

April 16, 2018 Digital Media Exclusive

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JOHNSTOWN — He had kicked drugs and was finding fulfillment helping others battle addiction. He was enjoying life as a father. He loved his job.

Things had finally turned Christopher Diaz's way.

But his future full of promise and potential was cut short last week in a tragic workplace accident.

The 30-year-old Butler man was killed Thursday morning when he was electrocuted at a sewer line installation site in Johnstown, authorities said.

“He had gotten his life together and he was happy,” Diaz's mother, Deborah Busin of Evans City, said Monday.

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death, which has been ruled accidental, said Johnstown police Capt. Chad Miller.

Diaz was “leaning against” a hydraulic forklift that came in contact with overhead power lines about 10:30 a.m. at DuPont Street and Coleman Avenue, Miller said.

Two other co-workers suffered non-fatal injuries when they also were electrocuted trying to pull Diaz from the forklift.

An autopsy was performed Friday and determined he died of electrocution.

Diaz was employed by Insight Pipe Contracting of Lancaster Township, Butler County as a laborer. He was part of a crew that was working on a years-long project of the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority to replace the city's sewer lines.

“He loved his job,” Busin said, referring to her son. “He loved the men he was with. He loved his boss.

“He was struggling to get a decent job, with just his high school degree; one that he could make a living at. And he found it.”

One hidden talent Diaz came to realize was that of a motivational speaker and role model to others fighting substance abuse and addiction.

He spoke frequently at Butler Memorial Hospital during meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and occasionally at meetings of Narcotics Anonymous.

A full story appears in Tuesday's Butler Eagle.

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