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Parking Garage Collapse Injures Two Workers

Posted On May 30, 2011 In Personal Injury

A partially built parking garage collapsed in February at University Hospital in San Antonio, injuring two construction workers, one critically.  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is conducting an investigation on the collapse.  Emergency air horns alerted 120 other workers, who fled from the collapsing structure, according to MySanAntonio.com. The garage was being erected near the intersection of Medical Drive and Wurzbach Road at the time of the construction accident.

Zachry Vaughn Layten is the company overlooking the construction project, which is part of a $900 million expansion at University Hospital.

“The garage project is shut down until we have completed an independent analysis of what happened—and can be assured that it won’t happen again,” said Mike Webb, vice president of facilities development and project management for the University Health System.

Observers of the construction accident reported hearing two loud crashes.  Jeff Johnson, Project Executive for Zachry Vaughn Layten, says that 12 to 15 concrete columns collapsed in the construction site accident.  They apparently crushed downward, and then caused the garage to collapse onto it, which would explain why witnesses heard two crashes.  The columns were approximately 6 to 7 stories high.

One board member from the University Health System asked Webb if he thought they were pushing too fast on the expansion project, trying to get it done on time.

“We’re moving as fast as we can, as safely as we can,” Webb replied.

Officials will not have a clear answer as to the cause of the construction accident until some of the debris is able to be cleared.

“When today’s failure occurred, Development Services Department immediately dispatched its building inspections supervisor to the site in order to determine the cause of the failure,” said T.C. Broadnax, San Antonio Assistant City Manager. “DSD has indicated that a failure of this nature is either a failure in structural design or it is a failure in the construction process.  At present, they do not know if it was a design or construction failure.”

“There is no one person who knows what caused this,” Webb continued. “That is why we’re bringing out the forensic engineers.  We don’t want to speculate and put things out there that may be rumors.”

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