Miami-Dade County

Bridge worker Navaro Brown died in collapse of FIU span, company says

Video circulating online shows moment FIU bridge collapses on SW 8th St.

A pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed Thursday, just days after crews had dropped an elevated 950-ton span in place on a signature project that was intended to give Florida International University students a safe route across the busy
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A pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed Thursday, just days after crews had dropped an elevated 950-ton span in place on a signature project that was intended to give Florida International University students a safe route across the busy

An employee of a company that provides products to strengthen bridges died in the collapse of the pedestrian bridge connecting Florida International University with the city of Sweetwater.

Navaro Brown, 37, died Thursday, according to Michael Biesiada, a spokesman for Structural Technologies VSL. Two other employees of the company were hospitalized at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami and their condition is stable, he said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Brown’s family and with the other affected employees,” he said. “We really appreciate the work of the first responders who immediately offered their help.”

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Navaro Brown, 37, was among the victims of the pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami. Facebook

Brown’s cousin, Appleonia Brown, posted on Facebook that Brown was from Mocho, Clarendon, Jamaica. He was a “hard-working, humble youth,” Appleonia Brown wrote.

Biesiada wouldn’t say exactly what Brown and the other employees were doing on the bridge when it collapsed, but he confirmed that Structural Technologies VSL was working on the project “providing installation support for our products.”

According to the company’s website, Structural Technologies VSL provides products to strengthen bridges, buildings and other structures. Documents from FIU and Bolton Perez & Associates, obtained by the Miami Herald, show that Structural Technologies, LLC (VSL) was paid $439,350 for “post-tensioning work,” a method for reinforcing concrete.

Photos of the accident that have circulated on social media show a white Structural Technologies VSL vehicle crushed by debris from the bridge.

Brown’s friend and coworker, Jah Basden, who is a design engineer at VSL, posted on Facebook Saturday that he was struggling to cope with Brown’s death.

“I woke up this morning and pain hasn’t gone away,” he wrote. “Damn bro! I going miss u my g [sic]. It’s going to be a rough road wit one less of God’s warriors on the field i promise to live by your example until we meet again rest up bro....”

Cellphone footage captured by Suzanne Bermudez on Thursday shows first responders and civilians as they search for survivors.

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