Cleveland police: Floor of new casino garage at Prospect and Ontario has collapsed

CLEVELAND - A portion of the floor of the new casino parking garage at Ontario and Prospect collapsed Friday afternoon.

The incident  happened at about 3:15 p.m. in downtown Cleveland, across the street from where the new Horseshoe Casino is going in at the Higbee Building.

Jeff Cohen, a spokesman for Rock Ohio LLC issued this statement:
"There was a construction incident on the site of the Horseshoe Cleveland parking structure, located at Prospect and Ontario Streets in downtown Cleveland, at approximately 3:30 p.m. today. The second level of the parking deck collapsed as concrete was being poured. Fortunately no workers were injured. The site has been secured and our investigation into the cause of the incident will start immediately."

Larry Gray, spokesman for the Cleveland Fire Department, said there were 52 people in the building at the time of the collapse, but all were out when fire crews arrived at the scene.

Gray said Whiting Turner is the lead construction company on the project, and there was a sub-contracting company laying the concrete for the structure.

Workers said the rebar saved their lives.

Calls to 911 sounded somewhat frantic just after the collapse happened.

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Firefighters, police and paramedics all responded to the scene.

The intersection at Ontario and Prospect was blocked off immediately after the incident.

The cause of the collapse is still under investigation at this time. According to Rock Gaming, OSHA is investigating the incident to determine a cause.

The City of Cleveland released the following statement Saturday from Director of Cleveland Building & Housing Department Ed. Rybka:

"Today, the city's Chief Building Official met with all parties associated with the construction as well as with OSHA's representative. OSHA's engineer will conduct a complete investigation into the cause of Friday's structure collapse.

Project engineers are reviewing the entire structure for safety and formulating a plan to remove debris.  That plan and engineering report will be presented to OSHA and to the City's Building and Housing Department for review and required approvals."

Saturday night, Michael Simonetti, President of Cleveland Cement Contractors, issued this statement:

"On behalf of the management and employees of Cleveland Cement Contractors, I want to express my thanks to the Cleveland Fire Department for their rapid response on Friday when a section of the valet parking center being built for the new casino in Cleveland collapsed while the concrete was being placed.  I am even more grateful that no one was injured in the mishap.

On Saturday, we participated in a meeting with OSHA, the construction manager and representatives from the casino to try to determine what happened, what to do next and what to do to make certain it never happens again. 

You can be sure that we are cooperating fully with everyone to do just that – to get this project back up and running as quickly as we can be certain it's safe to do so.

Safety has always been our highest priority.  Since 1944, Cleveland Cement Contractors has had a superb track record of safety.  We have strict policies to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the public.  In light of this situation, we will revisit these policies and make sure they are enforced and, if necessary, enhanced.  

We've built our reputation as a concrete specialist with a high level of competence and integrity.  Our company's steady growth rate is due, in no small measure, to repeat business from satisfied customers. In fact, some of our clients have been with us for more than 55 years. Our jobs have ranged from modest projects to installations valued at more than $18 million.  

I can promise you that I will continue to hold the company and our employees to the highest standards of service."

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