By David DeMoss
A very unfortunate event happened in New Orleans’ French Quarter this past week — a high-rise Hard Rock hotel partially collapsed while under construction, causing three men to be killed, dozens of injured workers. In addition, the collapse instigated a 270-foot, multi-ton crane that was on top of the building to become insecure, although another crane has since been moved into the area to stabilize it. The area is still highly insecure, and has caused a cascade of negative effects on the businesses and homes around it.
Unfortunate incidents like this demonstrate how, if you are a hotel developer, hiring a quality contractor, plus having the correct contracts, insurance coverage and insurance limits in place are paramount. Safety is never guaranteed, and shortcutting or deciding the above-mentioned processes based solely on price can have developers dealing with even more hassle in these times of stressMore details from Todd A. Price, below.
Two days after the partial collapse of a high-rise Hard Rock hotel under construction in New Orleans’ French Quarter, rescuers continued to search the building for a missing worker.
“It’s still a very, very dangerous building, a very dangerous situation,” said Chief Timothy McConnell of the New Orleans Fire Department, which is leading the rescue. “That tower is still heavily damaged and unsecured.”
Two men were confirmed killed in the collapse. The body of one of those victims was removed Sunday night, while a second remains in the building. The New Orleans Coroner has not yet released the names of the deceased or the person still missing.
The danger did not end after the initial collapse Saturday morning as a 270-foot, multi-ton crane on top of the building became unsecured and threatened to topple. Another crane was moved into the area Sunday to stabilize it.
Dozens of workers were injured when the top six to eight floors of the hotel under construction collapsed around 9 a.m. Saturday, sending debris cascading onto Rampart Street. Eighteen workers were transported to the hospital and several others transported themselves for treatment. Only one worker remains hospitalized and in stable condition. No bystanders were injured.
As engineering crews rushed to stabilize a listing crane and avoid further collapses, the blocks around the site were closed to traffic.
Neither the building nor the crane, McConnell said, have moved since Saturday.
As of Monday morning, nine nearby businesses still had no gas or electricity and 37 area families had been forced to relocate to hotels, according to Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
The roof of the Saenger Theater, directly across Rampart Street, was pierced with falling debris, according to the City, and all performances of the musical “Wicked,” set to run until Oct. 20, were canceled.
Cantrell urged patience because it could take weeks or even months to clean up the area, explaining, “This structure is not stable. We want people to stay away from the area. How we touch it – it just matters.”
The Hard Rock construction project, she said, was last inspected by the city on Sept. 24.
The federal agency OSHA is already on the scene of the collapse. Once the NOFD ends its rescue operation, OSHA will take over and begin its investigation.