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Home / Commercial Construction / Parking garage collapse near Summerfest kills 1 (VIDEO) (access required)

Parking garage collapse near Summerfest kills 1 (VIDEO) (access required)

By Sean Ryan and Joe Yovino Part of the O'Donnell Park parking garage near the Lake Michigan lakefront in Milwaukee collapsed just after 4 p.m. Thursday. A 30-foot concrete slab broke off the structure, falling to the ground below. One person was killed, and two injured, according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. He withheld the victims' names, ...


  1. This collapse is such a tradgedy, we pray for the family involved.
    The investigation into why this collapse occured should include:
    1. Who designed the facade piece that fell? Who designed the garage?
    2. Who was the contractor? Were they negligent?
    3. Was the contractor unionized and did the union have input into the overall design of the parking structure/forcing designers to plan for a dangerous multi-ton concrete facade to hang from fastners, bolts, etc.
    4. If a union was involved in forcing designers to use a faulty design that allowed the union to bill for more hours, will they be held responsible for something that caused a death?
    5. What other plan options were available for the construction of the parking structure?
    6. Could there have been a parking structure that was just as attractive or more so, that did not involve hanging a multi-ton concrete facade that used more union labor dollars to build?

  2. The union “forcing” designers to use a faulty design?! Are you on drugs? Tell you what, just feel sorry for the family and go back to your republican armchair. Maybe it was a contractor using non-unionized, inexperienced labor to cut costs. Man, you union bashers are morons. You don’t have a clue.

  3. John Davis,
    For crying out loud, shut up about the “Union” labor! What ever was designed and approved, by engineers was built. Stop blaming union workers for this. You benefit form unions also…..Do you have vacations? Do you have lunch breaks?, Do you work an 8hr day (unless on OT, which is another union benefit) Do you have health insurance?…. We aren’t given this, by employers, out of the goodness of their hearts….It’s pressure created by other union buisnesses.

  4. To Mick,

    Yes, many employers do provide these benefits without being told they have to by a union. We are 52 years old and have always provided vacation and sick days, uniforms, loss of time and life insurance. We also have health insurance and 401K available. Training, education and apprenticeships are part of our tradition. We do this because we value our employees. However, if the policies of the current govenment are put in play we may be forced to eliminate some of the benefits we offer.

    Most small business owners are not the tyrants you would like to believe. Many of us make the same or less than some of our employees. If fact last year when there was no work, my husband and I took the same pay cut our employees did. We are the only ones that haven’t raised our pay back. Our employees were had hours cut. Fortunately, they have the hours back.

    You try meeting a payroll week after week. Pay for gas, trucks, insurance, marketing, etc, etc, etc. This is our choice and I am not complaining, but I am also not let a union take credit for the benefits I gladly provide for my employees.

  5. Donna Grimme — you may not be “told” by unions to provide benefits, e.g., 8 hrs. days, insurance, etc., etc., but it is BECAUSE of the unions that workers have this protection. UNIONS fought long and hard for rights of the common worker and every single American worker has unions to thank for the benefits they have. Without unions, employers could force their employees to work 14, 16 hr. shifts for pennies. No minimum wage – unions fought for that, too. People forget the history of this country and the strong and proud place unions have in establishing rights for all.

  6. As an engineer, I can state with some conviction that just because it was designed one way, there’s no reason why it may not have been changed, appropriately or not. Likewise, it may not have been built as designed. But as for unions having a say in the actual design, well,… I’ve never heard of that. That someone “forgot” to tighten a nut on a bolt (or even put the nut on at all, or even put the required bolt in) is certainly possible. Further, I’ve been in a lot of structures where maintenance was lacking, or repairs were not performed, or where vandalism or damage was unnoticed, sometimes because could not be seen without dismantling the structure. In short, there are way too many reasons for a collapse. It could even be a combination of any or all of the above.

    There are many issues to be investigated in a situation such as this (search on the Kansas City Hyatt Regency walkway collapse investigation, or any other engineering/technology disaster to see how complicated they can be). Forensic engineers with experience in such matters will likely (SHOULD) be called in. Investigation should include, among other things, the actual design, changes proposed or adopted, actual construction, and MAINTENANCE. If I recall correctly, in the case of the Hyatt Regency failure, the structure was not built according to the original design, or to the design changes proposed by the shop that fabricated much of the steel used in the project. (FYI, such “shop drawings” are both common and generally of high quality in the construction industry, so there is no reason to assume there is a problem with that process, except in individual cases.) Larger projects often have an independent construction inspection team, but that’s not infallible, either. Just another check in the process, but it’s not used in many smaller projects because the added costs may render the project expenses too high.

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