After five days of careful planning, the Miami-Dade transit bus that crashed into a fashion shop in Little Haiti has finally been safely removed. The building it appeared to be holding up since Sunday didn’t collapse despite officials’ concerns.
At 6:43 p.m. on Thursday, bus no. 5197 was pulled out of Omega Fashion, a clothing store located on Northwest 54th and Second Avenue, where it had been lodged since a Sunday morning traffic accident sent it barreling into the store. It was slowly yanked from the structure, using a chain attached to a vehicle that resembled a combination crane/tow truck.
The out-of-control bus struck two of the building’s structural support columns, according to Miami Fire Rescue. One column was destroyed and the other sustained significant damage. The building’s second floor was left to rest its weight on the bus instead. Miami Fire Rescue initially reported concerns that, without reinforcement, the building might collapse if the bus was removed.
After days of preparation, Ebsary Foundation, a Miami-based contracting company, began setting up for the removal process on Thursday around noon. Kauff’s Transportation, a towing company, pulled the bus out of the building nearly seven hours later.
Police blocked both lanes from Second to Third Avenue on Northwest 54th Street. Arsene Omega, who has owned the building for 30 years, according to public records, watched the process from behind police tape.
The actual removal took about three hours. The bus was slowly inched out so that a contractor could position nine metal support poles. Those poles now hold up the part of the building where the bus had been.
The building is scheduled for demolition, reports WSVN Channel 7 news. Officials have given Omega three days to remove his belongings.
The bus was traveling north when it collided with a white Ford Ranger pickup in front of the store around 9 a.m. Sunday.
According to Miami police, the pickup had run a red light, causing the crash.
Although the bus driver and the two people in the pickup were admitted to a hospital, Miami police said all of the parties involved were expected to be OK with no life-threatening injuries.