The incident occurred at about 12:30 p.m. at 2211 Glover Road, police said.
Charles Franklin Williams, 37, of Broadway was working at a new-home construction site and was trying to place a chain under the tank so a crane could move it. The the tank shifted and pinned him against the wall of an excavation trench, police said.
Durham firefighters pulled Williams from the trench, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Williams owned Charles F. Williams Grading and Trucking Co., police said.
The Durham Police Department and investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration were investigating the death Wednesday afternoon.
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