Building collapses onto Jasper Avenue in downtown Edmonton
By Ryan Cormier and Mariam Ibrahim, edmontonjournal.com
EDMONTON — It leaned one way, swayed another, and then the Mayfair Hotel came crashing down onto Jasper Avenue in a tower of dust Sunday afternoon.
Around 5 p.m., during a controlled demolition of the five-storey building at Jasper Avenue and 108th Street, the hotel crashed through a retaining wall and covered the sidewalk and eastbound lanes of downtown’s main street.
“The building was definitely wavering back and forth for a couple seconds,” said witness Elena Karcher as she moved her hands back and forth. She watched the collapse from a vehicle on 109th Street, on her way to get ice cream. “A couple seconds later, it fell. I thought they meant to do it, but then it fell onto the road.”
Max MacLeod was a block away when the building fell and said he momentarily lost sight of the falling hotel as it was consumed by dust.
“It was so loud. You could hear wood being snapped as it fell.”
As soon as the dust settled, construction workers began to calmly sweep the street, MacLeod said.
Edmonton Fire Department Capt. Pat Martin said that the demolition crew had blocked off the sidewalk and street with the intention of bringing the building down, a completion of a demolition that first began in May. The foreman told Martin he could clearly see that no one was under the debris as it came down.
There were no reports of injuries.
“It was a fully controlled demolition, but perhaps it wasn’t well-orchestrated, it got away from them,” Martin said. “They did their job, but it went awry. I consider this a near-miss.”
Martin added that, obviously, some error had been made.
Firefighters and police quickly blocked Jasper Avenue between 107th and 109th Street, as a crowd gathered and began snapping pictures with their cellphones.
The collapse could be heard from several blocks away, witnesses said. The collapse crushed the plywood security wall and a bus stop, and felled several trees. Debris also fell onto the roof of a Corona LRT Station entrance, which had already been blocked off by construction workers for the final stage of the demolition. An Edmonton Transit spokesman said the LRT line was not affected.
An employee at a Rexall Drugs across the street, Tara Howlett, had a clear view of the demolition. “They cleared most of the building out this morning and just did a heave-ho. They took the big tractors and pulled it back, and most of it went down perfect, but part of it decided to kind of flail off on its own.
“It was just like one, two, three and it was done,” Howlett said. “It was really fast.”
The Mayfair, a five-storey structure built in 1944, is being removed by ProCura Real Estate to make way for a new twin-tower apartment complex expected to house about 900 residents. At one time, the Mayfair also housed a coffee shop, a hostel and a bar.
Clark Builders are handling the work site, though a company called McColman & Sons Demolition also had workers on-scene.
Occupational Health and Safety are investigating.
Less than two hours after the collapse, video recorded by a passerby was on YouTube. In that footage, a construction worker in a fluorescent vest can be seen blocking traffic before the collapse.
With files from Thandiwe Vela
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Building+collapses+onto+major+street+downtown+Edmonton/3264199/story.html#ixzz0tRGG1Quc
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