Paul H. Ferguson, Philadelphia, for appellants.
David L. Ullman, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, and Ross, JJ.
[ 172 Pa. Super. Page 616]
In this workmen's compensation case, the compensation authorities made an award to the claimant, Alice H. Heyler, widow of the employe Robert J. Heyler, and after exceptions by the employer were dismissed by the court below and judgment entered on the award, this appeal was taken by the employer and its insurer.
Heyler was employed by the defendant company on night duty, his hours being from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m., and among his duties was that of tending the boilers and pipes in the employer's plant. On April 2, 1948 he left home for work at 2:30 p.m. and was at that time 'perfectly all right'. While at work on the afternoon of April 2, 1948, the deceased went to a store near the plant and as he was returning he was observed to fall, for some reason, on the curbing or in the gutter of a street he was crossing. He arose with difficulty, was helped to the plant, and, although he was urged to go home, insisted upon staying. Some time
[ 172 Pa. Super. Page 617]
later that evening he was found in the plant at the foot of a ladder leading up to certain values to which it was his duty to attend. He seemed to be in considerable pain around the chest and was not very coherent. He was taken home and the following night collapsed in his bathroom. Thereafter he was removed to the hospital, and ten days after the foregoing events he died of pneumonia. A post mortem examination revealed that he had three broken ribs.
There is no evidence with respect to Heyler's activities from the time he went to work until about 6 p.m., at which time he was observed walking along a street near the plant by Paul A. Roth. Roth, a witness for defendant, testified that Heyler had his left hand pressed to his left chest as he walked. Roth went on his way but as he reached the corner he 'looked back and here Bob [Heyler] stepped off the curb and was sprawled in the street.' The witness did not go back to him because he saw that 'two men' had already 'picked him up'. One of the two men who assisted Heyler after his fall was Edward Feilke, a witness for defendant, who testified: '* * * I was watching Bob. He came to the corner and he fell off the street' and 'as he slipped off the sidewalk he fell.' Feilke testified that decedent's glasses were broken and that he was cut on the forehead.
At 8 p.m. of the same evening John Wixted and George Braun, also employed by the defendant, entered the plant and found Heyler in an injured condition. Wixted testified: 'We went to the boiler room and we found Heyler laying on the boiler room floor' in front of 'No. 1 boiler'. Braun testified that the decedent was lying on the floor 'alongside' a ladder which was leaning against the front of the boiler at a 45 degree angle, its feet being three or four feet from the front of the boiler. Heyler's duties as a stationary engineer
[ 172 Pa. Super. Page 618]
required him to go up this ladder to close valves on the boiler. At the time in question the boiler room was being ...