Tragedy strikes two union families after tornado, storms hit N. County


Tragedy struck two union families in the April 10 tornado and storms that ravaged St. Louis:

• Dave Burns, 50, a veteran member of IBEW Local 1439 and a father of four from Winfield, MO,. was electrocuted and died April 11 while working to restore power following the tornado and storms that hit the St. Louis area the previous evening.

• Patrick Duffy, 22, the son of United Media Guild Business Representative Shannon Duffy, apparently was blown off an overpass as he left his car attempting to seek shelter. He was reported in critical but stable condition April 15 as the Labor Tribune went to press.

Burns was a journeyman lineman working for Ameren Missouri.

Details of how Burns came in contact with the live wire were not immediately available. Ameren released a statement expressing condolences to the Burns’ family and friends.


Mike Walter, business manger for Local 1439, said it was a cruel irony that Burns, who was known for his commitment to safety, should be killed in such an accident.

“When you talk about safety and training and that sort of thing, Dave Burns was probably one of the most unlikely people to make a mistake,” Walter said.

“He was known by his co-workers, his fellow linemen, as someone who was very passionate about safety and would always be the first to stop somebody because of safety.”

Burns was initiated into the IBEW as an “A” member in 1987. He transferred from Local 42 to Local 1439 in 1995.


Duffy suffered severe head injuries, broken ribs and a collapsed lung in the fall, his father said. He underwent surgery last Thursday.

“We are hopeful. He is in critical but stable condition. He’s made some small improvements since the accident,” the senior Duffy told the Labor Tribune, with the emphasis on “small,” adding,but we are not yet out of the woods.”

Duffy expressed the sincere appreciation of his wife Julie and himself for all the prayers, notes and text messages they have received. “He still needs our prayers,” he added.

Patrick is the youngest of the Duffy’s five children. He is the manager of the Gravois Bluff Stadium 12 Theater in Fenton.


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