Two contractors suffered serious injuries when the Pennsylvania building they were working on collapsed on them. One of the contractors suffered injuries to his head while the other reportedly suffered fractures. The structural failure in Millvale is a reminder of the dangers of a building collapse during construction work. This accident is one of several in recent months in which residents or contractors have suffered injuries when part or all of a structure fell on them.
Pennsylvania Building Collapse Sees Brick Façade Fall on Contractors
The two injured contractors were working on a vacant building at around 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, when the accident occurred. The contractors—including the two injured and three other workers—were all from Interthal Contracting and had been working at the site for a few days when the brick façade fell. The other three contractors did not suffer injuries in the accident.
The contractor who suffered a “significant head injury” spoke with emergency responders before he was taken for treatment. The other contractor, however, was not responding. Both injured workers were taken to Allegheny General Hospital.
“One gentleman had a significant head injury,” said Ross/West View EMS Assistant Chief Greg Porter. “He was conscious and talking to us. I would consider him serious. The second gentleman had multiple fractures and was a little more serious. He was not responding very well, so a little concerned about him.”
Responder and Witnesses on the Scene of the Millvale Building Collapse
Dylan Ellison, a volunteer with the Millvale Volunteer Fire Department, was on the scene and said it seemed as though the entire top wall of the structure fell.
“I saw that one person had a head injury,” Ellison said. “It was bleeding pretty bad. One was also still down over by the structure. It was pretty bad.”
Ellen Michael, who was driving by when the accident happened, jumped out of her car and ran to one of the contractors to protect his head from falling bricks.
Structure Deemed to be in Good Condition Before Collapse
Officials say that although the Pennsylvania building involved in the collapse had been vacant for years, it was structurally sound. Officials from the borough and OSHA will inspect the site and determine when the contractors will be able to continue with their work. An investigation will also be conducted into what caused the façade to collapse.
The area of Grant Avenue around the Millvale building collapse was closed for more than two hours and reopened after 12:30 p.m.
Contractors Face the Dangers of Structural Collapse at Work
Contractors who are tasked with demolishing structures may find they are vulnerable to dangers at work, especially in situations where their employer or the people in charge of demolition have cut corners to save costs.
On December 2, 2016, 24-year-old Ethan McMahon died when a wall in the building his company was demolishing fell on him. Unlike the Millvale building collapse, which involved a brick façade, the collapse of the Copper Lounge building in Sioux Falls, South Dakota involved a load-bearing wall. Emily Fodness, a 22-year-old resident in the building, was trapped under rubble for three hours.
In fining Hultgren Construction for the accident, OSHA noted that the death was preventable, that the load-bearing wall was not properly removed, and that workers were not properly trained to operate machinery at the site.
In February 2017, a worker in Henderson County, North Carolina, died when one of the roof trusses his construction crew was setting collapsed, setting off a chain reaction of falling trusses. Steven Jones, 45, died in the accident.
Perhaps the most infamous of the recent building failures was the Philadelphia collapse of a building onto a Salvation Army thrift store. In that case, workers were demolishing an adjacent building, but the people responsible for paying for the demolition reportedly paid cut-rate prices for the demolition, and work was allegedly not done properly.
In one such instance, for example, one of the workers was allegedly using an excavator to take down a wall, in violation of regulations that require unsupported walls to be demolished by hand.
In all, seven people died and 12 more were injured. All of the people who were killed or injured in the failure were in the Salvation Army store at the time.
A $227 million settlement related to the tragedy was announced just days after testimony into the collapse began.
Building Collapse Attorney
Building failures are terrifying for the people involved and can result in catastrophic injuries to anyone inside the fallen building, or adjacent structures. This includes residents, guests, workers, and contractors. If you or someone you love has been harmed by when a building has collapsed, contact Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman to discuss your options.