LONDON, ONT —
Heavy machinery is now being used as the recovery effort gets underway to remove a deceased worker from the collapsed construction site at 555 Teeple Terrace in London, Ont.
Around 1 p.m. police shut down Wonderland Road, and an excavator began removing large debris. A drone was brought in shortly after to get an overhead view.
“The focus is on getting this individual out of the building,” says Const. Sandasha Bough of the London Police Service, speaking on behalf of the command team on site.
“We want to get this individual out as soon as possible, but because of the structure of the building and integrity right now, that could take a while.”
The command team consists of the City of London, London police and London fire. Also on scene are representatives from the Ministry of Labour, the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office as well as demolition and restoration crews.
The Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) team had been called in and was able to assist the London Fire Department and other responders in determining the structure was not stable enough to initiate a recovery process without the use of heavy equipment. As a result, they are no longer on site.
Shortly before noon yesterday, part of a four storey building at this location collapsed, sending Five people to hospital. Of those Five, one person is deceased. A second person trapped inside the building was later pronounced deceased.
“This is an extremely sad day for Nest on Wonderland,” Michelle Doornbosch, the building president of 555 Teeple Terrace said in a statement.
“We are devastated by this incident, and our thoughts remain with the affected workers, their families, friends and co-workers. Our first priority is always the safety of our employees, contractors and the community in which we work and live.”
She added an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.
“We are cooperating fully with the regulatory authorities as they carry out their investigation,” says Doornbosch.
Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) Monte McNaughton issued a statement.
“As of yesterday evening the scene was turned over to the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office to lead recovery efforts. MLTSD Inspectors will be on site today as recovery efforts continue. The Ontario Fire Marshal’s office will continue to control the scene until the recovery is completed.”
An investigation is underway to determine what caused the collapse.
555 Teeple Terrace is located in London’s Ward 11. Councillor Stephen Turner offered his condolences to everyone involved and says this is a tragic chapter in the history of this site.
“In the beginning, there was a tree clearing in the site behind us, which led to a lot of conflict in the neighbourhood. Eventually development applications came forward. There has been a lot of movement to try to make sure this is something compatible with the neighbourhood and it’s been seven to eight-years now.”
The concepts have come before planning committee multiple times in the past six years and the process ‘has been tough for the neighbourhood’ says Turner.
“There has been a number of iterations for this building, most recently as multi-unit residential. Before that as a medical-dental. Before that a couple other concepts as well. This is ultimately the form it has taken.”
Turner, a former paramedic wanted to thank all the first responders who have been on site.
“I know the complexity of HUSAR and the amount of advanced patient care brought to this,” says Turner.
“The complex engineering and rescue work, and the long investigation that will happen from here on out.”
While some deconstruction work is now underway, Bough says based on the condition of the structure, recovery efforts could take some time.
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