June 17, 2013

Crane Operator Under Influence When Building Collapes and Kills Six

by Levin & Perconti

The operator of the crane that was involved in the terrible building collapse that occurred earlier this month is expected to face very serious charges, including manslaughter and reckless endangerment for his involvement in the tragic building collapse incident. The incident occurred when crane workers were attempting to tear down a building as part of a large-scale redevelopment program. During the demolition process, the building that was being demolished ended up collapsing directly into a store next door that was open for business at the time of the crash. When the building collapsed, six people were killed and fourteen more suffered severe personal injuries. After the collapse, there was a thirty hour search and rescue operation in place to try to help and save as many injured as possible and the streets in a ten block stretch near the demolition site were shut down as part of the rescue mission.

A routine inspection prior to the demolition resulted in no violations found, however there had been some complaints about the working conditions in the area that may not have been followed up on as thoroughly as they should have. The owner’s of the building had all of the proper permits and the building itself had no previous code or other violations against it at the time of the collapse.

Currently, one of the main focuses in the investigation is the crane operator. At the time of the building collapse the crane operator had marijuana in his system, and has admitted to taking codeine and other prescription drugs prior to the building collapse. Previous court records show that the crane operator has been arrested ten times for various offenses including prior drug charges. According to witnesses, the way in which the building was being taken down looked like some type of collapse was inevitable, which is what happened to the huge wall that completely gave out at a certain point during the knock down process.

According to ABC News, since the crash all other demolition sites in the area are being thoroughly inspected for safety violations to help insure another terrible tragedy like this does not occur in the area. The Mayor is also implementing new safety requirements for all building demolitions within the city including that certain kinds of demolition machinery not be used when tearing down building directly next to occupied buildings. The Mayor’s new rules also require that all people operating this type of heavy demolition machinery at these sites undergo a background check and mandatory drug testing.

This type of incident seems to have been completely preventable had the proper safety precautions been taken and had the proper procedure been used to demolish the building that collapsed. In situations where people die or are seriously injured because of the negligence or recklessness of other people, the person or persons responsible for the actions should be held accountable for their actions (or for their inactions). Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are available to the victims and the victim’s families in these type of incredibly sad and unfortunate situations.