On Oct. 10, a five-story parking garage on the Miami Dade College West Campus in Doral, Fla., collapsed, killing four workers and injuring several others. The fourth deceased worker was pulled from the wreckage Oct. 16.
According to the Miami-Dade Police, the new garage, which was still under construction and located at 800 N.W. 115 Avenue in Doral, collapsed at 11:40 a.m. local time. Some media reports indicated that a crane struck the structure in the days before the collapse, though it is undetermined whether this in any way may have been connected to the incident.
The deceased workers include Jose Calderon, 60; Samuel Perez, 53; Carlos Hurtado De Mendoza; 48; and Robert Budhoo; 53. Perez, who had been trapped in the rubble, underwent a leg amputation in order to be freed from the debris but later died at the hospital. Budhoo, the final missing, deceased worker trapped in the collapsed garage, was found in the rubble Oct. 15.
Contractor Vows to Work with OSHA
William P. Byrne President and CEO of Ajax Building Corp., the project's contractor, pledged to find the cause of the fatal parking garage collapse.
“When the investigative process commences, we want to work alongside OSHA’s investigators to secure the site and make it safe,” Byrne said in an Oct. 12 statement. He stressed that Ajax Building Corp. has 54 years of experience and maintains “core values based on quality, safety and family.”
“Our corporate safety officer is here and has met with OSHA, and as has always been our practice, will be work hand in hand with the OSHA team. As much as all of us want to know what happened, it is simply too early to determine what caused the collapse,” Byrne said. “We stand ready to assist OSHA and the authorities in every way possible, and to serve as a full partner in their investigation. Again, we are absolutely committed to a thorough, transparent finding of fact.”
New York construction accident lawyer David Perecman, funder of The Perecman Firm, urged a detailed investigation into this incident to determine its cause and how it might have been prevented. He stressed that every piece of information in this type of investigation counts.
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 759 construction-work related fatalities occurred in 2011. A significant number of these accidents were attributed to preventable mistakes,” Perecman said. “By thoroughly investigating the causes of construction accidents and learning from those that occur, we can get closer to the goal of reducing and ultimately eliminating construction related deaths and injuries.”
The $22.5 million parking garage was expected to be completed by the end of the year. According to Miami Dade College Web site, the college’s West Campus will remain closed until at least Nov. 1 to ensure the other buildings are safe.