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US Contractor claims video shows structural flaws prior to Hard Rock Hotel collapse

09:55  17 october  2019
09:55  17 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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NEW ORLEANS – A video posted on social media claiming to show structural problems inside the Hard Rock Hotel construction site two days before its deadly collapse has become part of the investigation into the tragedy, authorities said Wednesday.

The video, posted Tuesday by a contractor, caught the attention of investigators looking into the collapse that authorities say killed three people, including one person unaccounted for who is now believed to be dead.

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Investigators said they will determine the video's authenticity and whether it shows structural problems prior to the collapse.

“We’ve seen it. We’re well aware of it. It’s provided to everybody and that will certainly be part of our investigation and our evaluation,” New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell said.

A structural engineer who reviewed the video said he does not believe it reveals definitive evidence of what caused the collapse. The video shows thin, white, temporary beams called post shores stretching from concrete floor to ceiling and bending.

“It looks like (the post shores) were standing pretty far apart but there may be nothing wrong with that. I still think an outside thing happened to cause the collapse,” said structural engineer Walter Zehner, who once consulted on the project before it became a planned Hard Rock Hotel.

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Thin vertical beams can be seen from Canal Street bending between concrete floors in a similar fashion to the ones shown in the video clip that lasts about a minute. But no one – including site contractor Citadel Builders – has been able to independently verify the site in the video is the now-collapsed hotel.

Concrete contractor Randy Gaspard, who works on commercial projects and has not worked on the Hard Rock site, said he received the video from site workers who showed it to him while at lunch. He shared it on his personal Facebook page Tuesday with the caption, “Days prior to Hard Rock Collapse, Citadel well aware of a problem, profits over safety, sad!” not knowing it would quickly spread across social media.

In the video, a voice speaking in Spanish can be heard pointing out “big spaces without any beams.”

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Gaspard declined to identify the person who recorded the video. He said he was not offering an opinion on the video, just sharing the concerns the worker had.

“What you’re looking at is the bottom of one of the concrete pours, the deck holding the concrete above,” Gaspard said. “It has either an insufficient amount of steel support under it or an insufficient amount of steel support in the concrete.

"What happened is all the decks deflected (meaning bent). There’s a failure somewhere in there. What the failure is I can’t say," Gaspard said. "I wasn’t part of the process. What he’s pointing out is simply the decks have deflected beyond what would be acceptable.

"The guys were on the job, they thought something was wrong. I’m not making an opinion on it, I’m just explaining what the guys were complaining about right there."

Six to eight concrete levels of the Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapsed Saturday morning, two days after Gaspard said the video was shot. On Wednesday, authorities said a third worker once thought to be alive is now considered dead.

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A video posted on Facebook by a local contractor purports to show the concrete slab above an upper level of the since- collapsed Hard Rock Hotel sagging Gaspard said the pooling was several inches deep and called it another sign of an as-yet undetermined engineering flaw that may have led to the

Magrette was a stucco foreman at the Hard Rock Hotel that collapsed on Saturday as he was working there. The remains of a man pulled from the rubble following Saturday's Hard Rock Hotel collapse in The statement said the developer would work with authorities and the contractor to determine

City officials are still working to stabilize a 300-foot crane that threatens to fall onto surrounding buildings.

The site is being managed by Citadel Builders, which has been a target of outrage online.

When asked if he could confirm if the video showed the Hard Rock site, Citadel spokesman Brian Trascher said, "I’m not saying it is or it isn’t from the site. What we do know is it’s unverified."

In addition to working as a structural engineer on projects, Zehner often is called to serve as a trial witness to testify about problems that occur at construction sites.

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After watching the video posted by Gaspard, Zehner said, "If I had designed it it wouldn’t have looked like that," in reference to the beams. But Zehner also said he saw no evidence in the video that the fate of the hotel construction rested on a few thin post shores.

"Those were temporary anyway. They’re not part of the structure," Zehner said. "There was deflection in the post shores, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what caused the building to collapse, not in the least."

Construction on the site was behind schedule, which is why the workers were there on a Saturday, Zehner said. But he has worked with Citadel in the past and said, "Never have I seen them cut corners or anything like that."

"There’s still too many mysteries out there," Zehner said.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Contractor claims video shows structural flaws prior to Hard Rock Hotel collapse

Family of man killed in Hard Rock collapse file wrongful death lawsuit .
The family of one of the men killed in the Hard Rock collapse has sued.The hotel was under construction on Oct. 12, when the top floors came tumbling down, killing three construction workers and injuring dozens of others. The cause of the collapse is currently under investigation.

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