One killed in Capitol Hill tree-branch accident

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A tree branch fell on Capitol grounds Tuesday morning and struck a man, who later died.

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers released a statement identifying the man as Architect of the Capitol employee Matthew McClanahan, who Ayers said was working on an irrigation pipe when the American elm’s branch fell.

“Matt was a talented, dedicated pipefitter in the maintenance division of Capitol Grounds,” Ayers said. “Please keep his family, friends and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

DC Fire transported McClanahan to a hospital after the branch hit him, and a Capitol Police spokesperson issued a statement saying crews were inspecting the tree and would remove the remaining portion.

House Speaker Paul Ryan issued a series of tweets Tuesday afternoon on the fatal incident.

“This morning, a tragic accident on Capitol grounds took the life of Matthew McClanahan, a pipefitter for the Architect of the Capitol,” Ryan tweeted, adding. “Matthew and his wife, Lauren, have two young children, Evie and Matthew. Their loss is so sudden and unimaginable. … I ask my colleagues and everyone in the Capitol community to keep Matthew’s loved ones in your thoughts.”

Several other members of Congress also tweeted their condolences, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Earlier today, a member of our Capitol family lost his life following at tragic accident while on the job,” Pelosi said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Matthew McClanahan’s family in this difficult time.”

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