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Partial floor collapse leaves one hurt at new science building

Worker in stable condition, other left stuck on upper floors.

One person was injured and construction has been halted on the new Science Education and Research Center after one of the upper floors of the structure suffered a partial collapse this afternoon, said Ray Betzner, assistant vice president for University Communications.

Betzner said one worker was lowered down by crews from the Philadelphia Fire Department, and was alert and responsive to the emergency workers who took him to Temple University Hospital in stable condition. His injuries were unspecified, but appeared to be non-life threatening.

Campus Safety Services received a report of the the incident at about 1:20 p.m., Betzner said, and fire crews had left the area by 4 p.m. Initial indications showed that a failed connector on the fifth floor of the structure caused a beam to fall to the fourth floor.

Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone said that there were 3-5 workers with the injured worker at the time of the collapse, but were not trapped. They were let down along with the injured worker after 30 to 45 minutes, Leone said.

The portion of 12th Street between Norris Street and Polett Walk remains closed to pedestrians and vehicles, as the tunnel between Anderson and Gladfelter halls, Betzner said. However, both buildings as well as the Engineering Building are open and classes and activities are to continue as scheduled, Betzner said.

The site will be closed until at least Monday, Betzner said, and an investigation by the state Bureau of Licenses and Inspections and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has begun. Betzner said there was no word on how long this would set back construction of the building, which is scheduled to open in Fall 2014.

Betzner said there were no indications that debris fell to the street below.

Richie Jr., of Richie’s Deli and Pizza located at the food pad, said that he was busy working the afternoon lunch rush around 1 p.m. when he heard the crash.

“We were hopping busy and it was ‘boom, boom, boom, boom,’ and we didn’t know which way to run,” he said

The food pad, located on 12th Street between Polett Walk and Montgomery Avenue, is open.

The $137 million building was planned as part of the Temple 20/20 development initiative, and has been under construction for about a year. This is the second incident relating  to construction of new buildings this year. A string of arson fires causing $100,000 in damage at the construction site of Morgan Hall led to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to issue a $15,000 reward that was never claimed.

John Moritz can be reached at john.moritz@temple.edu. Follow on Twitter @JCMoritzTU.

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