A barn frame collapsed at an $80 million Texas A&M University equestrian complex, leading to four worker injuries.
The barn frame was under construction at the time and occurred Saturday on A&M property about one mile from the main campus, Texas A&M spokesman, Lane Stephenson said, according to The Associated Press (AP). The accident took place just before 11:00 a.m.; College Station and Bryan fire departments, campus police, and Texas A&M emergency medical personnel responded to the accident.
The College Station Fire Department said that ground was broken at the site last fall. According to the AP, twisted metal beams are now visible at the construction site. Some 25-30 people were working at the center at the time of the collapse, KHOU News reported.
The four injured workers were transported to hospitals; names and other details were not immediately released. The AP noted that no one else was injured; however, emergency responders had stopped the search for the four injured workers over concerns about another collapse. “After that time search and rescue efforts were suspended until the remainder of the structure that was still standing could be stabilized,” according to a statement released by the College Station Fire Department. “After the structure was secured a secondary search of the area was conducted to ensure that all patients had been located.” The cause of the collapse remains under investigation by Texas A&M police officials.
University police said the contractor is Gamma Construction Company, which has offices in both Houston and San Antonio, Texas, according to the AP. A Gamma Construction representative did not immediately return a call to the AP for comment this weekend; however, on its website, Gamma Construction wrote that the work at A&M is one of its 2013 projects. The website also indicated that the equestrian complex “will enhance Texas A&M University’s equine program and will consolidate not only academic programs, but clubs and associations to one premier location in order to teach, train, conduct research, exhibit and showcase events.” The center’s first phase was scheduled for completion next year and is planned to “include locker rooms, offices, a concessions building, a 50-stall barn, plus practice arenas and two covered competition arenas,” wrote the AP, citing A&M.
According to KHOU News, workers were in elevated positions while steeling together the barn, which was 35-feet tall and 300-feet long. One 35-year-old man was admitted to St. Joseph Regional Health Center and is listed in critical condition, according to hospital spokesperson Tim Ottinger. Ottinger said that two 22-year-old men had been admitted in stable condition and a 32-year-old man received treatment and was later released. Another worker was transported to the College Station Medical Center; a spokesperson there said that worker was in stable condition as of late Saturday afternoon. Information on the extent of the workers’ injuries has not yet been released, KHOU News reported.
Phase 1 has been valued at $35 million and encompassed “facilities for the Aggie equestrian team and a cross-country course in collaboration with Texas A&M Athletics,” according to an athletics department press release late last year. “New facilities for the Parsons Mounted Cavalry are also included in the plan,” the release indicated, according to KHOU News.