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Philadelphia Roof Collapse Injures 4

Thursday, January 31, 2013

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Federal officials are investigating the partial collapse of a police facility under construction that injured several workers on Tuesday (Jan. 29) afternoon in Philadelphia.

Four workers, including a man in his 80s, suffered non-life-threatening neck and back injuries and were taken to local hospitals after a section of the wood framed building toppled at about 1 p.m. ET, according to local news reports.

construction collapse

Parts of the wood framing of the police building under construction collapsed, injuring workers Tuesday afternoon in Philadelphia.

Police officials said three workers crawled out of the rubble: a 23-year-old with a leg injury; a 47-year-old with chest pains; and an 83-year-old with a back injury, reports said. However, firefighters told members of the media that a fourth worker was also injured in the accident.

It took only five seconds for the roof to come down, according to a video posted by a local television station that shows footage from a surveillance camera across the street.

Officials did not return requests for more information Wednesday morning.

Cause Probed

No cause of the collapse has been identified.

A spokesperson from OSHA’s Region 3 office in Philadelphia said it had commenced an investigation, noting that the federal agency has up to six months to complete that process. The City's Department of Licenses and Inspections is also investigating.

axis construction management

Axis Construction Management, the general contractor for the new police facility, has completed a variety of commercial and institutional projects throughout Philadelphia and the East Coast, according to its website.

Those authorities questioned the project's general contractor, Axis Construction Management of Conshohocken, PA,  late into Tuesday night, according to reports.

The contractor did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Axis Construction was cited for an other-than-serious fall protection hazard in February 2011 and informally settled for $354, according to OSHA's database.

Project Details

The police facility construction project broke ground in August 2012 and includes a renovation of a 30,000-square-foot warehouse and a 10,000-square-foot addition for office space.

The building is owned by Iron Stone Partners of Philadelphia. The building owner did not return a request for comment Wednesday.

The facility will house the Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit, the city’s Department of Human Services Sexual Abuse Investigations Unit, Philadelphia’s Children’s Alliance, and the district attorney’s office in the East Hunting area of the city.

“This co-location facility is critical to coordinating crime-response strategies across the City of Philadelphia,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter in a statement. “Bringing together these different agencies that share the same goal, to support and protect the victims of sexual abuse, will further enhance the efficiency of investigations and the efficacy of services provided to victims.”

Though expected to be complete in early 2013, the timeline for the project may be pushed back following Tuesday’s accident, reports noted.

Collapse Heard Across Street

Noise from the collapsing building was heard by the Rev. Carlos Diaz, who was in his office nearby, according to a local ABC affiliate.

"First of all, I thought, 'I hope no one was hurt,' main thing. I know there were a lot of crew people walking back and forth," Diaz told the news bureau.


Tagged categories: Accidents; General contractors; Health and safety; OSHA; Renovation; Roofing materials

Comment from Donald L Crusan, (1/31/2013, 9:41 AM)

My main thought here is: 83 Year Old Construction Worker. May the Gods Bless this guy. What he could teach us that is not in "The Books"

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (2/1/2013, 9:27 AM)

Makes me want to bump up my 401(k) contribution even further.

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