MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A building demolition went wrong in Miami Beach sending concrete debris flying into the street that injured a construction worker.
Miami Beach Police and fire rescue crews were alerted to the collapse at 5775 Collins Avenue, just before 10:30 Monday morning, and responded to the scene.
One person, identified as 46-year-old Samuel Landis, was found injured and transported as a trauma alert to Jackson Memorial Hospital. He remains in critical condition.
“Once we got here, we found a victim in the middle of the street who had severe injuries,” said Miami Beach Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez.
Cellphone video captured the scene as the building came down.
The subcontractor responsible for the demolition, Allied Bean Demolition, has not commented on the incident. However, a spokesperson for Winmar Construction issued a statement confirming the victim was a demolition project manager:
“Demolition was conducted by Winmar’s subcontractor, Allied Bean Demolition, who was responsible for performing all of the project’s demolition work. Unfortunately, during the demolition, one of the Allied Bean Demolition’s project managers was injured and was transported to the hospital for treatment. We continue to monitor his condition and our thoughts and prayers go out to Allied Bean Demolition’s project manager and his family during this difficult time. Safety remains the top priority for Winmar on all of its projects and we adhere to all safety protocols to ensure every precaution is taken. We are working closely with City officials and industry agencies to understand what happened during Allied Bean Demolition’s demolition of the structure.”
Miami Beach Fire Rescue confirmed with the crew responsible for the demolition that every worker has been accounted for.
Fernandez said, however, search dogs will go over the demolition site, just in case anyone may have been inside.
“Obviously, during that demolition, something went terribly wrong,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “We hope that this construction worker is able to make it through this.”
Ana Salgueiro, a Miami Beach building official, said, “The building was not scheduled to be imploded. They had tried to ask for a permit to implode, and they had been denied, so it was standard demolition that was supposed to be taking place.”
Salgueiro noted that Miami Beach does not issue implosion permits. However, a standard demolition permit was issued prior to Monday’s collapse.
A construction worker who is part of the project said the whole building was not supposed to come down when it did.
“The part that they were taking down was supposed to come down, the other half just fell into where it’s being demoed,” he said.
Witness Rudy Pages said he was near the demolition site, where he saw a man get struck by debris.
“The building finally collapsed, and it collapsed towards Collins Avenue,” Pages said. “As the building was falling, and we’re seeing all this smoke come towards us, a boulder the size of the front-end of a car flew across the street, hit a man that was standing – one of the construction men – and the boulder hit him in the center of his chest.”
Miami Beach Police added that the 12-story apartment building had a permit for demolition. The building was called the Marlborough House and was built in 1961.
The apartment building was being demolished to make space for a 16-story condo building with 86 units.
Joe Mouyal, who lives nearby, said he’s seen the construction process over the last few months.
“Once they took out the parking lot, they started to work with taking out all of the glass and the balconies, so it looks like they were removing everything to just leave the shell of the building to bring it down,” Mouyal said.
However, he noticed that crews began to pick up the pace. “On Saturday, they worked late, and they did a lot of work,” he said. “They really removed a lot of the outer walls over the weekend, so I think that’s the reason why the building came down.”
Resident Maria Carmen Pino said when she was driving, something about the building caught her eye.
“I saw that the building had three floors that were standing only on poles,” Pino said. “There was nothing underneath.”
Traffic was a mess after the demolition and some residents were kept from their homes for hours.
Collins Avenue was closed in both directions but was fully reopened just before 5:30 p.m.
Christian Ivy, who lives in the area, said he had a hard time getting home.
“I just wanted to get home to my house,” Ivy said. “I had to park at Publix, and I walked all the way here.”
He’s not the only one. “I had to park on 65th Street and walk all the way down because I can’t get into my building,” said area resident Arlene Terrinoni.
While the investigation continues, some neighbors said the construction site had given them cause for concern.
“I want to tell you something. I walked my dog along this street just last night, and I saw those columns, and half of them, only the rebars were showing, and I was thinking to myself, ‘That’s not very safe,'” said Terrinoni, “and what do you think? Today, this morning, it falls down. As I was walking by, I was thinking that.”
Police allowed residents with identification to get through to their homes.
No neighboring buildings were affected by the demolition.
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