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Three die in parking garage collapse

Oct. 11, 2012 at 10:40 AM   |   Comments

DORAL, Fla., Oct. 11 (UPI) -- A worker whose legs were amputated so he could be rescued Thursday from a parking garage collapse at Miami-Dade College in Doral, Fla., died, officials said.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said the worker was rescued about 12 hours after a portion of the parking structure fell after both of his legs were amputated above the knee so he could be freed from the rubble, NBC News-Miami reported.

While the name of the third worker was not released, police identified the other two workers killed in Wednesday's collapse as Carlos Hurtado de Mendoza and Jose Calderon, both thought to be at least in their late 30s.

Nine other workers were injured.

Crews were still searching for another missing worker believed trapped, NBC said.

Hundreds of first responders responded to the garage in Doral after a portion of the five-story structure collapsed Wednesday morning in what Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Louie Fernandez described as a "pancake-style collapse."

"It was a floor upon floor, collapsing all the way down to the ground floor," Fernandez said.

Miami-Dade Community College spokesman Juan Mendieta said the school would be closed for the rest of the week.

Police said only construction workers apparently were at the site at the time of the collapse. The garage was under construction and wasn't open to the public.

Victoria Buczynski of Miami told NBC News she saw the collapse while at work at Gurkha Cigars across the street from the construction site in Doral.

"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."

Work was nearly finished on the 1,855-space parking structure, scheduled to be completed in December, information posted on the website of contractor Ajax Building Corp. said.

William P. Byrne, Ajax president and chief executive officer, said in a statement an internal review would be conducted to determine the cause of the collapse.

"While we do not yet know the cause of this tragic collapse, we are committed to working actively and cooperatively with our design and construction partners and local, state and federal authorities to determine the exact cause of this accident," the statement said.

Byrne said the company was committed to safety in the workplace.

"Safety on the job site is the overarching priority of Ajax all through the company's 54-year history. Even as we work to determine the cause of this accident, we are committed to embracing any additional protocols, policies and procedures that will enhance and ensure the continued priority of safety," the statement said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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