Building collapse kills one in SE Houston

April 14, 2009 7:06:56 PM PDT
A building under construction collapsed Tuesday afternoon, killing one person and injuring two others. [PHOTOS: See images from Tuesday's building collapse]
[VIEW BLDG. SCHEMATIC: See the blueprints]
[MAP: See location of accident]
[IMAGE: What the motel looked like before]

It happened around 4pm at the building in the 6300 block of the Gulf Freeway on the northbound side near Griggs. The workers were on the first floor when the building came crashing down. Five workers were in the area. Two got out by themselves, two others had to be rescued and one man was found crushed beneath the rubble.

Of the injured, one man was conscious and able to stand up after being removed from the rubble. The second victim was brought out on a stretcher, but was conscious and moved his arms.

Firefighters worked to stabilize the building as the rescue unfolded. Houston Fire Department Assistant Chief Rick Flanagan compared the process to a game of pick-up sticks, where firefighters would remove one piece of lumber at a time by hand, without disturbing the rest of the structure.

The crews used dogs and remote cameras to search the rubble for other people possibly trapped, but found none.

The building that collapsed was going through a deep renovation, which was to go on throughout 2009, scheduled for completion in 2010. They were turning an old apartment building/hotel into the New Hope housing complex, which is to consist of 149 fully furnished efficiency apartments designed for seniors who live alone on limited income.

As for the injured construction workers, one has been identified Ray Bandera. He was taken to Ben Taub Hospital. We don't have an official word on his condition. The other worker who fell was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. He's listed as stable. His identity, as well as the deceased worker, have not yet been released.

Stay with ABC13 Eyewitness News and abc13.com as the investigation into Tuesday's collapse continues.

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