The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened an investigation into a construction site accident that killed one bystander and injured five other people Wednesday afternoon when scaffolding fell from the top floor of a Brickell-area condo tower under construction.
On Thursday morning, streets around the building, including Brickell Avenue, were reopened. Piles of crushed glass, metal and wood could still be seen on the construction site for the approximately 50-story Echo Brickell at 1451 Brickell Ave. The construction site remained closed as the investigation continued.
The man who died was a bystander in his 50s who ran from falling debris and had a “cardiac incident,” according to Miami Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Joseph Zahralban. Miami police have not released his identity. The injuries were not life-threatening and those people taken to the hospital after the accident have been released, according to the developer Property Markets Group.
According to Miami City Manager Daniel Alfonso, the structure that fell onto Brickell Avenue Wednesday was a cantilevered scaffolding that hangs out over the edge of the high-rise. Alfonso said construction workers were loading and unloading equipment onto the platform using a crane and the temporary structure either became stressed or took on too much weight.
“The part that sticks out over the edge of the building had weight on it, and apparently the structure failed,” he said.
Miami’s building department and OSHA inspectors are investigating the incident, and police have been stationed near the site at private expense to help direct traffic as officials work to determine exactly what happened, he said. Miami’s building inspectors would need to sign off on any attempt to reopen the construction site, he said.
“We haven’t issued a ticket yet. The investigation is still going on. Our building officials were out there yesterday and will be out there today as well,” he said Thursday.
Alfonso said an engineer representing Echo Brickell has already looked at the building and issued a signed letter to the city asserting that the building itself was not damaged by the falling equipment. But he said engineers also need to look at two additional scaffoldings located on the side of the high-rise to make sure they're safe as well.
The building’s developer, Property Markets Group (PMG), released an updated statement Thursday morning.
“When a construction accident occurs, all you can hope for is the safety of everyone involved. Kevin, Michael Stern, myself, and everyone at PMG and JDS send our deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the gentleman who passed,” said Ryan Shear, principal of Property Markets Group, in the statement. “At this time we understand that everyone else injured has been released from the hospital. PMG, our general contractor (JMA) and city officials are working diligently to understand what happened with the form work connection, which has not been determined at this time. The site has been secured and is currently being reinspected to ensure proper safety measures are in place.”
This report will be updated as more information becomes available.