Investigations underway after construction worker hurt during Miami Beach building collapse

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Investigators are now looking into what went wrong after a construction worker was injured when a Miami Beach building collapsed during a planned demolition.

A day after the building went down, a pile of rubble is all that remains. The building was in the process of being demolished at the time, and according to a construction worker who said he was a part of the project, only a portion of the building was supposed to come down when the entire structure fell.

“The other half just fell onto where it was being demoed,” the worker said.

“The building was not scheduled to be imploded,” said Ana Salgueiro, a Miami Beach building official. “They had tried to ask for a permit, but they were denied, so it was standard demolition that was supposed to be taking place.”

During the incident, demolition project manager Samuel Landis was hit by a piece of debris. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with a serious leg injury.

A witness who happened to be in the area during the incident described what he saw.

“A boulder about the size of the front end of a car flew across the street,” said Rudy Pages, “hit a man that was standing, one of the construction men, and the boulder hit in the center of his chest.”

Miami Beach resident Grace Adriani said the building looked a bit odd the morning of the collapse.

“You could see that some of the columns already had no concrete,” Adriani said. “It was just the rebar left on the columns, so it looked pretty precarious that morning.”

Adriani said she had some concerns about the construction site for some time.

“I was feeling incredibly uneasy about it because I went out on my balcony, and when this bulldozer was tugging, it felt like an earthquake,” Adriani said. “My balcony was shaking. I was scared of even standing out on my balcony at that point.”

Now, several agencies are looking into the matter to find out what went wrong.

“We’re going to be investigating it, along with our colleagues and folks from other departments, to find out exactly what happened,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

Winmar Construction also said in a statement they will be looking into what happened.

Meanwhile, Miami Beach Police said there is now a criminal investigation into the incident.

“One person was hurt. Many more could have been hurt, so hopefully this won’t happen again, but we have to find out what happened,” Adriani said.

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