‘We’re hoping for a miracle’: 1 still missing after partial building collapse in Cincinnati

State News

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WLWT) — One person is still missing after a building partially collapsed in downtown Cincinnati.

At least three injured people were pulled from the rubble and taken to area hospitals. Officials said another person is still believed to be inside, trapped somewhere under debris.

More than six hours after the initial collapse, city leaders said first responders are transitioning from a rescue effort to recovery mode.

The collapse occurred just before 1 p.m. at 151 West Fourth St., near Race Street. The building — which was under construction at the time — partially collapsed as crews poured concrete on the building’s seventh floor.

At least three contractors working on the floor below were injured. One person is still missing.

Fire officials said two of the injured suffered serious injuries and one suffered relatively minor injuries. They said all are expected to survive.

“At this point, we’re still in an active search and rescue or search and discovery,” Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco said.

A Cincinnati police source previously said that one person was dead. But Sammarco said that one person is still missing, and a body has not been recovered.

“We don’t really know what’s going on yet,” Sammarco said. “They’re (the family of the victim is) hoping for a miracle. We’re hoping for a miracle. We are preparing for not, unfortunately.”

Rescue crews said the search is a painstaking process, as crews search through 440 cubic yards of concrete that was poured. It is a construction site, fire officials said, and crews are searching through sharp objects and other potential dangers associated with such a site.

Fire Chief Roy Winston said there were many contractors at the scene, and crews are checking with each of them to ensure everyone is accounted for.

“Recovery efforts are ongoing,” said officials with Turner Construction, one of the companies involved with the project. “Counseling services will be made available to all workers on-site. We work extremely hard to prevent days like this and our thoughts are with the injured workers and their families.”

Nearly six hours after the initial collapse, a note sent to the City Council from City Manager Patrick Duhaney reads, in part, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce first responders are transitioning from a rescue effort to recovery mode in the search for a construction worker who went missing after a partial building collapse early this afternoon at a construction site at Fourth and Race streets in the Central Business District. The Hamilton County Coroner, accompanied by Cincinnati Fire, has spoken with the family. “

Witnesses described a chaotic scene in the middle of the workday.

Ron Howard’s desk sits directly across the street from where the collapse happened Monday afternoon.

“You could hear the rumbling from the collapse coming down,” he said. “I look outside and there’s three construction workers on the back of the concrete buggy that was lifting the concrete up.”

Howard said chunks of debris hit the ground and bounced onto nearby Fourth Street. Fortunately, no bystanders were injured.

When completed, the building will be 14 stories tall. The $44 million mixed-use development will include commercial space, parking and more than 200 apartment units.

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