On Monday, the construction site for the new Marathon Oil headquarters in Houston was the scene of a deadly building collapse. The incident occurred when a stairwell failure sent debris crashing to the first floor of the building. Three workers were killed and one more was injured during the Houston building collapse.
Today, the Houston Fire Department confirmed that rescuers recovered the bodies of the people killed by the collapse. Initially, crews deemed the building as too unstable to begin looking for the victims. Recovering the bodies from the three-story-tall pile of rubble required 20 rescue technicians, a hazmat team, and over two hours. Crews had to cut holes in the roof to reach unstable slabs of concrete with cranes.
“HFD crews have been working around the clock, in a very dangerous situation to help bring closure for these families,” the Houston Fire Department said in a statement.
All people who were inside the building during the incident are accounted for. Though firefighters don’t believe there are additional victims, they’ll continue to search the rubble. While their identities have yet to be released, it’s thought that all three workers were construction workers.
“I’m looking for answers because my best friend got trapped there and we don’t know if he really is alive or dead or if he needs helps. I don’t know because they don’t tell us anything,” said Miguel Ramirez, a man who believes his friend might be among the three killed by the collapse.
OSHA Is Investigating Stairwell Collapse in Marathon Oil Tower
Currently, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration is leading an investigation into the cause of the accident. Inspectors from the city of Houston were at the construction site on Monday morning, hours before the stairwell failure. They didn't note anything alarming or unusual during their visit.
Federal data reveals that 25 construction workers were killed in Houston last year, and 174 were killed throughout Texas. This year, the state has already had 40 construction-related deaths, with 9 occurring in Houston.
Harvey Builders was contracted to work on the project. ABC13 revealed that East Texas Precast, a subcontractor that handles the casting of concrete structures, is also involved with the project. The stairwell that collapsed was reported to have been part of the building’s precast interior.
In a statement, Harvey Builders confirmed that it was working with East Texas Precast, project developer Hines, and officials to determine the cause of the deadly Houston building collapse. It’s currently unknown if this incident will delay Marathon Oil’s move that was slated for 2021.
Arnold & Itkin’s Houston building collapse lawyers will continue to follow this story as officials work to determine what caused this stairwell failure.