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Building demolition turns disastrous; company ignored warnings

We've written frequently about construction accidents in this blog - with good reason. After all, they are among the most commonly occurring work injuries. And they are also among the most serious and potentially fatal of work accidents.

The Baltimore area definitely gets its share of construction accidents, as does Maryland as a whole. This week, however, the blow fell in another state, not far away. It involved a building that was being torn down. It could be considered a construction accident because construction must often be preceded by demolition.

But in this case, the demolition got out of control. A building in downtown Philadelphia that workers' were demolishing suddenly collapsed. The collapse sent a cavalcade of bricks onto a nearby store. Six people were killed and at least 13 were injured.

After the building collapsed, rescue crews began an intense search through the rubble of the building, looking for survivors. They were able to extricate a woman from the nearby store two hours after the collapse.

The demolition company had obtained the necessary permits for the work. People in the area of the demolition site had been concerned about it, however. They were wary of what would happen because so many supporting bricks were being removed.

Moreover, the demolition crew also reportedly let a 30-foot dividing wall remain standing with no braces to make sure it stayed up. A witness who saw this suspected that the lack of braces would undermine the structural integrity of the building. But the demolition company ignored the warnings.

Source: CBS News, "Major: 6 dead in Philly buliding collapse," June 5, 2013

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