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3 Dead, 1 Missing in Collapse Of College Parking Garage

Thursday, October 11, 2012

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At least three workers were dead and one was still unaccounted for Thursday (Oct. 11) after a parking garage under construction collapsed at Miami-Dade College in Doral, FL.

Two workers’ bodies were recovered after the five-story structure fell in level by level about 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday (Oct. 10).

Miami-Dade College parking garage collapse


The five-story garage, near completion, collapsed Wednesday (Oct. 10). An NBC affiliate posted this aerial video of the collapsed garage.

The bodies of two workers were recovered shortly after the accident. A third worker was rescued shortly after midnight Thursday (Oct. 11), but his legs had to be amputated to free him from the concrete and steel rubble, and he died later at an area hospital.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials continued to search Thursday for a fourth worker in the wreckage, but authorities held little hope for his survival.

This video shows rescuers pulling an injured worker from the collapsed garage.

CNN / Miami-Dade Fire Rescue

This video shows rescuers pulling an injured worker from the collapsed garage.

The deceased victims were identified as Jose Calderon, Carlos Hurtado de Mendoza, and Samuel Perez.

The identity of the missing worker was not immediately available.

More Injuries

As many as nine other contractors were injured, according to reports. Three were treated at the scene, and others were sent to local hospitals, according to Cristina Armand, a Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue spokesperson.

No students were injured in the collapse.

Company Statement

The victims all appeared to be employees of the project’s contractor, Florida-based Ajax Building Corp. The company issued this statement Wednesday:

“Ajax Building Corporation extends our deepest sympathies and prayers to the families of our colleagues who died, our colleagues currently being rescued, and others injured in today's accident at our construction job site for the new parking garage at Miami-Dade College West Campus in Doral, Florida.

 Textured painting and waterproofing work was progressing throughout areas of the parking garage, according to the contractor’s recent construction update.

 Ajax Building Corp.

Textured painting and waterproofing work was progressing throughout areas of the parking garage, according to the contractor’s recent construction update.

“While we do not yet know the cause of this tragic collapse, we are committed to working actively and cooperatively with our design and construction partners and local, state and federal authorities to determine the exact cause of this accident. We also intend to conduct an internal review with our partners, Harvard Jolly and Coreslab.

“At this time, we are properly focused on the tragic loss of a life and the well-being of anyone injured, and on helping the families involved.

“Safety on the job site is the overarching priority of Ajax all through the company’s 54-year history. Even as we work to determine the cause of this accident, we are committed to embracing any additional protocols, policies and procedures that will enhance and ensure the continued priority of safety.”

Investigation Underway

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

The agency has up to six months from the beginning of its investigation to issue findings and determine whether any federal safety standards were violated.

‘House of Cards’

Victoria Buczynski of Miami told the Associated Press that she saw the collapse while working at a cigar store across the street from the site.

“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.”

Almost Complete

Images showed the parking facility construction near completion. The $22.5 million garage was to be completed in December, according to Ajax Building Corp.

The contractor recently updated the website on Oct. 1 regarding the state of work, saying that textured painting and waterproofing work was progressing throughout areas of the structure.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Concrete; Construction; Contractors; Fatalities; Health and safety; Industrial Contractors; Painters; Parking Garages

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