1 dead, 1 trapped in Fla. parking garage collapse
By SUZETTE LABOY
The Associated Press | October 11,2012
Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue workers view the West Campus parking lot of the Miami-Dade College in Doral, Fla.
A section of the parking garage under construction collapsed Wednesday, trapping some workers and shaking the buildings around it.
MIAMI — A section of a parking garage under construction at a community college collapsed Wednesday, killing one worker and trapping two others in the rubble, officials said. One of the workers was rescued, but there was too much debris around the other to immediately get him out.
At least 10 other workers were hurt when the roof of the five-story concrete garage fell, creating a pancake-style collapse on the campus of Miami-Dade College, officials said.
“It was a floor upon floor, collapsing all the way down to the ground floor,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Louie Fernandez said.
The trapped worker was getting oxygen and being treated by a physician, but officials did not describe the extent of his injuries. Fernandez said the rescue would be a “long, tedious effort.”
Dogs, firefighters and other people in hard hats walked over piles of concrete, plywood and metal rubble to look for other possible victims, but there was no indication anyone was missing.
Victoria Buczynski of Miami said she saw the collapse while she was working at Gurkha Cigars across the street from the construction site at the Miami-Dade College.
“It fell to the ground like a house of cards,” Buczynski said. “The construction workers started running out, screaming. It was loud. Our entire building shook.”
No students were in the area at the time. The campus was evacuated after the collapse and closed for the rest of the week. Investigators planned to pick through the rubble to see what caused the garage to crumble.
“We just know that the roof collapsed,” Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Griselle Marino said.
William P. Byrne, president and chief executive officer of the garage contractor, Ajax Building Corp., said an internal review was being launched to determine the cause. Byrne said the company would embrace “any additional protocols, policies and procedures that will enhance and ensure the continued priority of safety.”
Marino said three people were initially trapped in the rubble, including the man who died. Another eight were taken to a hospital, she said. Two injured workers were treated at the scene.
One of the rescued was pulled out from under a steal beam by four firefighters. His face and hands were bloody and he was put on a stretcher and carried away, according to a video shot by Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue and provided to The Associated Press.
The construction site looked like a typical one. A large crane stood beside the pile of rubble. Pickup trucks, trash bins and a tractor-trailer were nearby, as were ladders, a cooler and piles of wood.
Ground was broken on the $22.5 million project in February, and the 1,855-space garage was to be finished in December, according to Ajax’s website.
The first floor was to have classroom and office space. The structure is next to the college’s main office building and nestled among other campus buildings.
The college serves about 8,000 students and is one of several campuses in the Miami-Dade College system. This campus opened in 2006.
The identity of the worker who died was not immediately released.