A Henderson County building collapse has left one worker dead. The tragedy occurred on a construction site in North Carolina on Friday, February 10, 2017, at around 2:15 p.m. Although building collapses are relatively rare, such construction accidents do happen and can have devastating consequences.
“Domino Effect” Caused Henderson County Building Collapse
According to reports, a construction crew was onsite at a building off Highway 64 near Horse Shoe and Etowah to set roof trusses when one of the trusses collapsed, setting off a “domino effect.” It’s not clear what set off the chain of falling trusses, although wind could have been a factor.
Killed in the accident was 45-year-old Steven Jones, a construction worker.
“Workers showed up today to do their job,” said Major Frank Stout of the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office in an email to News 13 about the Henderson County building collapse. “It’s the end of the week, and sadly a tragic event like this does happen. But it will truly affect, not only the family but the workers for the rest of their lives.”
Potential Structural Failure in San Francisco Leads to Evacuations
Although structural failures are rare, they can be devastating, which is why the threat of a building collapse must be taken seriously. That’s what people in approximately fifteen buildings in San Francisco’s South of Market district learned when they were suddenly evacuated on February 15. The evacuation was initially announced due to what was believed to be the possible collapse of a 2,000-pound concrete slab.
The slab was on the 30th floor of a construction site and reports indicated it came loose, raising the potential of it falling and putting people nearby in jeopardy. San Francisco police began “aggressively evacuating people” from buildings to prevent any loss of life or injury.
“If it does fall, the worst-case scenario is we’re going to have some structural damage to the buildings below,” said San Francisco fire spokesman Jonathan Baxter, during the evacuation. “We’ve been aggressively evacuating, so we’re pretty confident we won’t have any injuries.”
Later in the day, reports emerged that the issue was actually with an interior forming system that suffered a “partial hydraulic failure.” It was properly secured and the concrete placement arm was brought back to level. It took until 9 p.m. to resolve the situation.
“Previous reports that a 2,000-pound slab of concrete is in danger of falling are also false,” a media statement from the developers of the property noted.
Failure to Heed Building Collapse Warnings Cost Salvation Army Millions
A 2013 building collapse recently resulted in a $227 million settlement with 13 people who were injured in the collapse and the families of six people who died. Although the developers of the property that collapsed were held accountable by a jury in the lawsuit, the bulk of the responsibility was handed to the Salvation Army, for failing to heed warnings that the building next to its thrift store could collapse.
The wall of the Philadelphia building collapsed while the building was under demolition by a crew that apparently had little experience in building demolition and failed to follow proper guidelines. An unbraced brick wall collapsed into the Salvation Army thrift store, killing employees and shoppers and seriously injuring 13 others.
The Salvation Army had reportedly received email warnings that there could be an uncontrollable collapse but did nothing to protect employees or customers, leaving the store open during the demolition. The man who owned the building that was being demolished had offered to relocate the thrift store, but the Salvation Army rejected the offer and refused to allow the contractors access to their roof for their work.
A jury hearing the Philadelphia structural collapse lawsuit assigned blame to all defendants but laid the majority of the blame—75 percent of it—with the Salvation Army. While the trial was in the damages phase—during which the jury hears testimony and determines how much money will be awarded—the $227 million settlement was announced.
The Salvation Army is believed to be responsible for $200 million of the settlement. An arbitrator will now determine how much money each plaintiff will receive.
Building Collapses Usually Preventable
Building collapses like the Philadelphia collapse are typically preventable if the people responsible for demolishing, renovating, building, and maintaining the buildings follow the rules and regulations in place. There are very strict guidelines put in place to protect people from a tragic building collapse. Unfortunately, there are also situations in which people violate those rules in an attempt to save money or speed up the construction process.
When corners are cut in the construction process, the results can be catastrophic for the people inside or nearby a building when it collapses.