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3 Die, 6 Hurt as High-Rise Girders Plunge 11 Stories : Accident at Downtown Office Site

December 18, 1985|JOHN KENDALL and TED ROHRLICH | Times Staff Writers

Three people were killed and six injured today when parts of several floors of a downtown office building under construction collapsed under the weight of a pile of steel girders.

The accident at the site of a high-rise office building under construction at 1000 Wilshire Boulevard occurred shortly before noon.

"We don't know exactly how it occurred," said Fire Captain Tony di Domenico. "One large section of construction steel got away." Officials said that a pile of steel girders crashed through the corrugated flooring of five floors above street level and about six subterranean levels.

"The dead men were on some of the floors and rode it down," he said.

As a result of the falling building material, part of the building gave way and crashed down, pancaking the descending floors into a pile of rubble, officials said.

Two Hospitalized

"The whole thing went right into the basement," said Vince Marzo, a Los Angeles Fire Department inspector.

Seven fire companies and eight paramedic crews arrived at the construction site shortly after the collapse. Two of the injured were transported to nearby Good Samaritan Hospital. Four others were treated at the scene.

At 1 p.m., fire officials said they believed they had accounted for all workers in the area.

Efforts were under way to recover bodies of the victims, visible in the wreckage. Rescue officials said the possibility of instability in the structure would slow their efforts.

The precise cause of the collapse, reported to the Fire Department at 11:42 a.m., was not immediately clear.

The construction site is at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Francisco Street, and extends to Seventh Street, directly west of and behind the Los Angeles Hilton Hotel.

The planned 22-story office building is being developed by Reliance Development Inc. The builders are Swinerton and Walberg Co., with the design by KOHN-Pederson Inc.-Fox Architects.

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