Coast Guard veteran dies after 30-foot fall from scissor lift

Longtime owner of lighting business dies in apparent accident at warehouse

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of an electrical contractor who died after falling at least 30 feet from the top of a scissor lift Monday Morning said the 74-year-old was a Coast Guard veteran who had owned his lighting business for decades.

Police said Bruce Krost suffered critical injuries Monday morning when a scissor lift he was using to change halogen lighting at the top of a warehouse on Philips Highway fell over and he hit his head on the concrete floor.

"It looks like it just tipped over when he was at the top of it," Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jay Farhat said. "It did give way and that's the reason he was severely injured."

Krost was taken to UF Health hospital, where he died overnight surrounded by his four children.

Krost was loved by many people, his family said, including his 10 grandchildren.

“He's wonderful. He was loved by everybody. He adored his kids. They adored him,” said Krost's life partner, Elizabeth Krost.

Elizabeth said she has nothing but good memories about her best friend, a man she met when they were both just 16 years old.

“He tried so hard not just to please everybody, but he very seldom thought of himself,” Elizabeth said.

She said Krost still worked at 74 not because he had to, but because he wanted to.

“He was a very hard worker. He didn't know what to do if he retired. He couldn't sit around,” she said.

Krost died about 13 hours after the lift toppled. The lift landed on its side, but no one else was injured.

Witnesses said Krost, the owner of Coastal Lighting Service and Supply, had been contracted for some work at Wheel-1 warehouse at 7350 Philips Highway, near J. Turner Butler Boulevard.

A manager at Wheel-1 Inc., who was at the warehouse when the accident happened, told News4Jax that he and the staff are  thinking of Krost's family.

“I have no idea what happened. It's just these awfully freakish things that happen,” Elizabeth said. “I know he is careful.”

Farhat said it does appear to be an accident, and that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be called in to conduct a separate investigation into why the lift equipment failed.

“There definitely was an equipment failure with the crane. The nature of that, we don't know,” Farhat said.

Krost's company, which is based in Orange Park, had no violations in OSHA’s inspections database in the last 10 years.

Danny Hodge, a safety instructor and investigator for the Northeast Florida Safety Council, said there are a number of things that could have gone wrong with the lift.

“Falls in the construction industry are the No. 1 cause of injury and death,” Hodge said. “When the lift goes out, the center of gravity changes. And if the ground is not stable when you operate a lift, it can cause it to tip.”

Despite their loss, Krost's family said they are thankful for the time they had with him.

“He will be very missed,” Elizabeth said. “I miss him now.”

Krost’s family hasn’t made funeral plans yet. They said they’ll be doing that in the coming days.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.