When he turned 18, Fernando Vanegaz immigrated from his home country of Ecuador to the United States. His parents had made the move years earlier for work, so when Fernando arrived there was a home in Queens waiting for him. He was eager for financial independence, and quickly found a job with a Brooklyn-based construction company.
The work was dangerous. Fernando would often frighten his mother with accounts of close calls on the job. One such incident occurred at a construction site at 656 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, when a retaining wall nearly toppled over.
A little under a month later, there was another incident with the retaining wall. This time, it collapsed entirely. Fernando was working underneath the wall at the time. He was killed less than a year into his new life in the US.