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Berkman Builders to Review Structural Integrity of Berkman II

9:07 AM, Dec 11, 2007   |    comments
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By Ashley Coleman First Coast News JACKSONVILLE, FL -- A makeshift memorial of flowers and a teddy bear sit in front of the site of Thursday's fallen parking garage at the Berkman Plaza II. A handful of workers were there Monday, as OSHA began its investigation into the cause of the collapse. This follows days of searching for a missing worker. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue found the body of 26-year-old Willie Edwards III Saturday morning. An autopsy released Monday shows he died from multiple injuries. The garage was under construction when it buckled and gave way early Thursday morning. Nearly two dozen people were trapped and injured in the collapse. Alan Travis, President of the Berkman Plaza II, offered his condolences in statement. "Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of Willie Edwards who died so tragically in this accident," said Travis. "We are thankful there was not more loss of life and that most of the injuries sustained were not more serious than they were." Travis says his company will launch its own investigation into what exactly happened once the scene is cleared by OSHA. "We will have a still-to-be-named third party structural engineer oversee the investigation (engineers not previously involved with the design and/or construction of the garage or residential tower)," he said. The builders of the Berkman also plan to do a structural review of the second tower, just to make sure the parking garage collapse didn't damage anything. "We have no reason to believe that the residential building has been compromised in any way. Nevertheless, we will conduct a full and extensive investigation of the tower as well, to assure the integrity of Berkman Plaza II," said Travis. "No expense will be spared in this undertaking." Travis says the incident and investigations will delay the completion of the Berkman II. Today the construction site was turned over to OSHA. Investigators have up to six months to look into the cause of the collapse. Jim Rowe was an OSHA investigator for 30 years. He said the biggest challenge of this investigation will be re-creating what happened. "They're going to look at records that the contractors kept and they're going to talk to employees to find out what safe work practices were at the time," Rowe said. There has been an outpouring of support for Edwards and his family. You can donate to a fund set up at any Vystar Credit Union. The account number is 0702713719.

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