- Associated Press - Friday, September 11, 2020

ATLANTA (AP) — A section of concrete on a parking deck under construction in Atlanta partially collapsed on Friday, officials said, injuring five workers.

Video from news outlets showed an injured worker being strapped into a basket next to the collapsed section. A construction crane then lowered the worker more than 9 stories to the street below.

Four other construction workers were injured but managed to walk away from the collapsed material, but one was trapped with leg injuries, Atlanta Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Glen Riley told reporters at the scene.

Firefighters helped to free him and then communicated with the crane operator using a construction worker’s radio, Riley said. The worker never lost consciousness, he added.

“That was an awesome job,” Riley said.

A firefighter also was taken to a hospital, with likely heat exhaustion, Riley said.

The collapse involved part of a prefabricated parking deck under construction in Atlanta’s Midtown section, officials from Atlanta Fire Rescue said in a statement.

There are concerns that more of the structure could collapse and fall onto the Interstate 75/85, a busy freeway through the heart of the city, Riley said. Part of an adjoining street and a ramp to the freeway closed as a precaution.

“If the wall collapses, it may extend to the expressway,” Riley said.

City inspectors planned to examine the structure in the next few hours, he said. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration also was sending inspectors to evaluate whether any federal workplace safety rules were violated.

The 3,000-space parking garage is being built at one of Emory University’s hospitals just north of downtown Atlanta.

Representatives of the university and the Batson-Cook Construction Co. didn’t immediately respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment. Batson-Cook is owned by Kajima Corp. of Japan.

The garage is part of a major construction push at the hospital, including a new $470 million location for Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute, which is going up in a 17-story tower.

A parking deck five blocks north partially collapsed in 2009, damaging dozens of vehicles but causing no injuries. The owners of that garage later said that a bolt was improperly installed, allowing a beam to pop loose.


AP reporter Jeff Martin contributed from Marietta, Georgia.

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