July 10, 2014

Worker killed in ceiling collapse at Haltom City building

Two other workers were slightly injured when the ceiling collapsed at the building on Airport Freeway.

One worker was killed and two others were slightly injured Thursday morning when a ceiling collapsed inside a vacant building that was being remodeled, officials said.

The worker, Julio Menendez, 28, of Dallas was pronounced dead about 9:30 a.m. in the 5700 block of Airport Freeway in Haltom City, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

The collapse was reported about 9 a.m. at the former Hawk Electronics building.

The structure is 20 feet tall. About a quarter of the steel and concrete floor of a second story fell, said Haltom City Fire Marshal Fred Napp.

Crews lifted the heavy debris to find Menendez’s body. The injured workers declined medical treatment, he said. Napp said he did not know how many people were in the building at the time of the collapse.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the main federal agency that enforces worker protection laws, is investigating, a spokeswoman said.

“At present, we understand that three brothers were doing demolition work on the first floor inside the building when the second-floor ceiling collapsed and struck a 28-year-old, who died,” Diana Petterson said in an email.

David Dahms, owner of The Bike Doctors next door to the building, said scrap-metal workers had worked in the building for about two months.

“They were destroying the place,” he said.

It had been quiet for about two weeks until new crews showed up this week, Dahms said.

The building and land was bought about six months ago by Blackmon Mooring to be used for a new headquarters.

Blackmon Mooring specializes in building remediation and restoration, including duct cleaning and floor and carpet work.

The interior of the building is being demolished as part of the building renovation, said Robert Smith, company treasurer. The general contractor is Southlake General Contracting, but Menendez and his co-workers were working for a subcontractor, Smith said, adding that he couldn’t recall the subcontractor’s name.

“We’re deeply saddened at the loss of this young man’s life, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Smith said.

Blackmon Mooring intends to continue work on the new building, but company officials want to make sure structural engineers have time to inspect the building and make a safety assessment, Smith said.

The company bought the building, six acres and an adjoining 6.9 acres out of foreclosure. The 56,666-square-foot, two-story building has about 30,000 square feet of warehouse space, according to a previous Star-Telegram report.

Blackmon Mooring’s current home, at 308 Arthur St. in Fort Worth, is in the path of the Trinity River Vision project.

Staff writers Sandra Baker and Gordon Dickson contributed to this report.

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