Nation

2 dead, 1 trapped in Fla. parking garage collapse

The parking garage was under construction at Miami-Dade College. Two people were initially trapped in the debris.
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
The parking garage was under construction at Miami-Dade College. Two people were initially trapped in the debris.

MIAMI — A section of a parking garage under construction at a community college collapsed Wednesday, killing two people and trapping two others in the rubble, officials said. One worker was rescued amid the debris, but there was too much concrete around the other to immediately get him out.

At least 10 other workers were hurt when the roof of the five-story concrete garage fell, creating a pancake-style collapse on the campus of Miami-Dade College, officials said.

‘‘It was a floor upon floor, collapsing all the way down to the ground floor,’’ said Captain Louie Fernandez of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department.

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The trapped worker was pinned inside a vehicle. He was receiving oxygen, had an IV inserted into him, and was being treated by a physician and a paramedic. Officials did not describe the extent of his injuries. They said it could be hours — possibly even days — before they can rescue him.

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‘‘It’s going to be a long, tedious effort,’’ Fernandez said.

Dogs, firefighters, and other people in hard hats walked over piles of concrete, plywood, and metal to look for other possible victims. Authorities believed at least one more worker was still unaccounted for, and they were trying to make sure everyone else was OK. Many workers left the site without telling authorities.

Victoria Buczynski said she saw the collapse while she was working across the street from the construction site.

‘‘It fell to the ground like a house of cards,’’ Buczynski said. ‘‘The construction workers started running out, screaming. It was loud. Our entire building shook.’’

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No students were in the area at the time. They campus was evacuated and closed for the rest of the week. Investigators planned to pick through the rubble to see what caused the garage to crumble.

William P. Byrne, president and chief executive of the garage contractor, Ajax Building Corp., said an internal review was being launched to determine the cause.

Byrne said the company would embrace ‘‘any additional protocols, policies, and procedures that will enhance and ensure the continued priority of safety.’’

Griselle Marino, a spokeswoman for the fire-rescue department, said three people were initially trapped in the rubble, including the man who died. Another eight were taken to a hospital, she said. Two injured workers were treated on the scene.

Ground was broken on the $22.5 million project in February, and the 1,855-space garage was to be finished in December, according Ajax’s website.

Associated Press