Recovery efforts to find the still missing worker trapped by a building collapse in downtown Cincinnati stretched into a second day on Tuesday.
Cincinnati Fire Chief Roy Winston confirmed the search is a recovery and not a rescue during an 8 a.m. briefing at the site of the collapse.
“It’s a methodical process. That’s probably the best way I can describe it. It’s just going to take time. Hopefully, if we can bring in some heavier equipment that will speed up the process,” he said.
The building, which is a construction site, at the corner of 4th and Race Streets partially collapsed Monday at 1 p.m. Workers were on the fifth floor when concrete being poured on the sixth floor became too heavy and caused the roof to collapse.
Turner Construction said Monday four workers were injured, but all have been treated and released from hospitals.
At least two of the construction workers were taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and one went to Christ Hospital, Chief Winston said.
He said the family of the still-missing worker has been notified, and Cincinnati fire staff has been assisting the family through the search efforts.
Winston said the missing worker was on the sixth floor when the collapse happened.
“It’s been a tremendously trying time for them, but we are trying to provide whatever comfort we can,” he said.
Tuesday, Winston said emergency crews would bring in ‘heavier’ equipment after using hand tools to avoid creating more debris.
“We used basic hand tools, jackhammers and so forth, in order to not create a lot of extra mess and debris, but now we feel we can bring in additional equipment,” Winston said.
He said Turner Construction is bringing in additional workers to help offload the extra material and heavier equipment needed to find the missing worker. He said due to rain in the forecast Tuesday afternoon, and crews are trying to work more quickly.
Winston couldn’t give an estimate for how long the search would last. He also said the cause of the collapse is currently under investigation.
“All we know at this point is the collapse occurred south to north, and all of that concrete came back south once the weight shifted and created the collapse we see up there,” the chief said.
The area of the collapse is about 200 feet by 40 feet, he said.
“We have the dogs here, and we are using that resource as our starting point. That is where our focal point is. It’s a very large area we are focusing on,” Winston said.
Due to do the large size of the search area, rescue dogs have been brought in to assist.
In a press conference at the scene Monday night, Hamilton County Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco would not confirm the missing worker is dead, holding out hope for a ‘miracle.’
3CDC is the developer for the future building’s commercial space and the garage, which was topped out last month, according to a release. Flaherty & Collins, 3CDC says, is developing the apartments above, with Turner Construction serving as the general contractor for the entire project.
Turner Construction released a statement about the missing worker. It reads in part:
“We understand and appreciate the desire for more information. However, at this time, it is best that we refrain from speculation into the cause and the facts surrounding the incident. We ask for everyone’s thoughts and support as we work to complete that mission and will provide more information at the appropriate time.”