Cave-in claims Atmore man's life

Published 9:03 pm Monday, January 30, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
Most people can remember when Atmore native Harold Scott started his plumbing business in 1998.
All he had was a red pickup truck, a shovel and his best friend, Daniel Weaver, as his lone employee. His work ethic and friendly business tactics were celebrated throughout town Friday as his now 15-man crew, customers and community members mourned his tragic death.
Scott, 34, was killed at 12:30 p.m. Thursday after the walls of a hole he was running pipe in caved in around him and buried him alive while he was working in Wetumpka.
"He would never have his men do something that he wouldn't do, that's why he was in that hole," Scott's sister Ronda Scott said Friday afternoon as she fought back tears. "He wasn't even supposed to go to Wetumpka Thursday, but they wanted to have the job finished so they didn't have to go back next week."
Scott, owner of Southern Plumbing, had been working outside the Riverside Entertainment Center, a gaming facility owned by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
"The three workers that were with him dug him out with their hands, but it was too late," Scott said, reflecting back on the tragic event.
Arthur Mothershed, a Tribal Council member, said Scott's sudden death was "tragic".
"We're deeply saddened by this event and we want the family to know whatever we can do, we're there for them," he said. "It was a terrible accident and our thoughts and prayers are with them."
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is currently investigating the incident.
"We won't get the results of OSHA's report for another couple of weeks," Ronda said.
Scott was born and raised in Atmore. Following graduation from Escambia County High School in 1989, he began working for South Alabama Plumbing where he gained the experience, which proved valuable when he ventured out and started his own business. Southern Plumbing, located at 102 ? North 2nd Avenue in Atmore, thrives today with 15 crewmen and eight trucks that serve the Atmore and surrounding areas.
Scott's sister said the business will continue on because "that's what my brother would want".
"This was Harold's dream no matter what it takes," Ronda said. "He would want them to keep the business going. Renee talked to the guys today and they said they are there to the very end."
Willerdean Hendrix, who along with her husband James lived next-door to the Scott's on Pleasant Hill Circle in Atmore for more than 13 years, was deeply saddened by Harold's death. She remembered him as not only a great businessman, but also a great neighbor who was always willing to lend a helpful hand.
"He was like a son to me," she said. "I couldn't have asked for a better friend or neighbor. He was always there for us because we're a little older than they are. His children wanted to call me granny, they used to stay with me all the time."
Hendrix recalled the year the Scott's had an pool built in their backyard and allowed her and her husband to use it freely. She said Harold even cut a door on her side of the privacy fence so she didn't have to walk around to enter.
"If we needed anything, they were there for us," she said. "It worked both ways. You don't find many people like that anymore. They're both beautiful people."
Family and friends described Scott as a family man who loved to hunt and fish. He was not only dedicated to his work, but to his family including his wife of 13 years, Renee, 7-year-old daughter, Torri, and 11-year-old son, Nate.
"He was all about his kids," Ronda said. "He loved them very much."
Ronda also said she couldn't have asked for a better brother.
"He was funny, he was a good businessman, everybody loved him that worked for him; you've never met anybody like him," she said. "He could be very intimidating because he was a muscular guy, he loved to lift weights, but he wouldn't hurt a flea. He could scare anybody, but daddy, he didn't try daddy. He was altogether a joker. Most people would remember him as a workaholic. He worked hard for what he had and he worked constantly. His employees didn't look at him as their boss; he was there friend. If they needed something, they would go to him. He's helped all of them in some way."
Scott will be laid to rest today at 2 p.m. in Oak Hill Cemetery following a service at Atmore Memorial Chapel.

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