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Worker Killed in MI Collapse

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

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YPSILANTI, MI—Authorities are investigating a structural collapse that claimed the life of a construction worker on a historic-renovation project this week.

The victim and three other workers were clearing debris in the basement of the historic Thompson Block building about noon Monday (May 11) when the first floor caved in, Ypsilanti Fire Capt. Dan Cain told the Ann Arbor News.

ThompsonBlock ThompsonBlock

The Thompson Block Facebook page posted photos over the weekend (May 9) of roof work. The building dates to 1861. The name and employer of the victim in Monday's collapse have not been released.

The other three workers escaped. The critically injured worker was pulled unconscious from the debris but died of his injuries Monday afternoon at an area hospital.

Neither the worker's name nor that of his employer have been released.

Michigan's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident, and the agency has allowed construction at the site to continue while the investigation is underway.

Civil War Building

The accident occurred in a historic section of Ypsilanti known as Depot Town. The district was established in the 1830s, and many of the buildings date from 1850 to 1880s.

ThompsonBlock rendering
Thompson Block Partners

The 150-year-old building is being redeveloped with commercial and luxury residential space.

Built in 1861, the 30,000-square-foot Thompson Block building was used as a barracks during the Civil War; the building was damaged by fire in 2009, WXYZ Detroit reported. The floor that gave way was scheduled to be demolished next week, the station said.

The Thompson Block is being redeveloped with 14,000 square feet of commercial space, 16 luxury lofts, and parking. Developers bill the site as "as Ypsilanti’s premier location for living, working, and entertainment."

ThompsonBlock ThompsonBlock

Work on the redevelopment project began at the end of March. Roof construction (right) was underway in April.

Construction began at the end of March.

The project team has incorporated as Thompson Block Partners. The principals include JC Beal Construction Inc. as construction manager. The 53-year-old, family-owned company did not respond Monday to a request for more information.

Other principals are Beal Properties LLC, property manager; David Lavender Architects PC; civil engineer Mason Brown Associates Inc.; and broker Howard Hanna Real Estate Services Inc.

Construction Continues

A spokeswoman for Michigan's Department of Licensing and Regulator Affairs said that work on the project could continue as long as the contractor was in compliance.

"The contractor will need to assess their work operations, correct any deficiencies, and take the appropriate measures in order to continue," spokesoman Tanya Baker told the Ann Arbor News.

"The contractor can continue construction work with the expectation their work activities will be conducted in compliance with MIOSHA requirements."


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Fatalities; General contractors; Health and safety; Historic Structures; Renovation

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