Officials Investigate Cause Of Cary Construction Accident
Posted August 26, 2005 9:02 a.m. EDT
CARY, N.C. — Investigators with North Carolina Department of Labor were back on the scene Friday after a roof collapse at a construction site that sent five workers to a local hospital.
Officials said a wall gave way, causing the wooden pieces of the roof to cave in. The workers were framing an office addition to
Carolina Family Practice & Sports Medicine
3700 Northwest Cary Parkway
Bilingual labor investigators interviewed workers on the scene to find out what had happened to cause the collapse.
"The first thing we want to find out is what happened, to find out if it's preventable and hopefully ever prevent it from happening again as well," said Kevin Beauregard, of the Department of Labor.
Investigators said they are looking into all possibilities about what may have happened, but one major question about the accident is whether the roof supports were braced properly. Bound together, trusses make a sturdy roof. By themselves, they can be very fragile.
Lopez said his crew was securing the trusses with 2x4s until the rest of the roof was complete and that he felt like his employees did not make a mistake.
"We were doing exactly the same as we do in every other house," he said. "On this case, we just were doing everything by the book and it was a plain accident."
North Carolina State University's Dr. David Johnston, who specializes in construction engineering, said trusses could be serious trouble unless builders closely follow the manufacturer's bracing instructions.
"A lot of people have experienced pushing on the end of a yard stick and seeing that yard stick buckle to the side," Johnston said.
Investigators are also looking at the possibility that the trusses may have been damaged prior to installation.
It they find that workers violated safety regulations, there could be fines. Officials said it could be several weeks before they can determine the cause.
All five workers were taken to WakeMed Thursday; two were still in the hospital Friday evening. Cesar Esparza, 21, and Jesus Vargas, 29, was both listed in good condition.
Carolina Family Practice & Sports Medicine was open Friday without any problems or delays.