The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Monday, 03 September 2018 01:00cat

Explosion in Chicago triggered building's roof collapse

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Building's roof collapse Chicago Building's roof collapse Chicago

An explosion provoked the roof collapse of Calumet Water Reclamation Plant, located on the south side of Chicago.

The incident happened at around 11 a.m. on Thursday 30th of August and 10 workers were injured. These people, who were inside the building at the time of the collapse, were rescued as soon as possible by firefighters who rushed to the factory. According to Chicago's Fire Department, 2 of them were trapped in the rubble.

The first one was rescued after 20 minutes. Kathy Kissane, wife of the victim, said: "The only thing he remembers is seeing a flash and then hearing a big boom and then he was trapped, he could not move. They had to use a machine to get the beams off his legs." Mrs. Kissane also describes his current situation: "He has right now six broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, a collapsed lung, a broken leg, and he's pretty cut up, pretty beat up. He's going to have surgery tomorrow. As soon as I saw him, I feel much better knowing he's awake and he's joking, so, that's my husband." 

The other person, an iron worker, had to survive for 2 hours under the rubble before he was rescued. Paramedics arrived at the scene to stabilize him before he was extricated. CPD Special Operations Chief Walsh comments: "We sent two paramedics down from the rescue teams that started tending to him immediately, they started an IV on him. We were in contact with the University of Chicago, we medicated that patient because we were concerned about a collapse injury, and then he was removed back to University of Chicago Hospitals via helicopter. He is moving all extremities and he is answering all questions appropriately right now, he appears he has a broken jaw and a badly fractured leg but there were no amputations." 

After the rescue, 4 wounded victims were hospitalized in the University of Chicago Medicine with 2 of them (abovementioned) being in critical situation. Fortunately, no one's life is in danger. Totally, 5 out of 10 victims were discharged the same day. Yet, it is unknown when the other injured workers will be released.

An investigation concerning the causes of the explosion has begun with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) involved. The first clues, according to Fire officials, suggest that it was a methane explosion.



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