Recently, the second floor of the Freedom Baptist Church in Myrick, Mississippi collapsed, sending about 70 young parishioners tumbling through the floor. The incident occurred during a youth worship service. The drop was estimated at about 12 feet, but miraculously, no one suffered serious injury. Nearly half of the churchgoers present did sustain minor injuries, including cuts, bruises, and lacerations.
Pastor Tommy Davis described the building as being about 35 to 40 feet tall and made of steel. It resembles more of a high school gymnasium than a traditional church building, he states. When the floor unexpectedly dropped out during the student service, Davis immediately thought of all the potential terrible results. He speculated that the electricity flowing through wires or the gas through pipes could easily have sparked a fire. Davis expressed his gratitude that the fall was not nearly as bad as it could have been.
Those present described hearing a rumbling sound right before the floor literally began crumbling beneath them. Everyone started falling through the ceiling, creating a scene more akin to something you would watch in the movies than in real life. At this time, it is not evident what caused the sudden collapse of the floor.
This incident comes several months after a highly publicized building collapse that occurred in Philadelphia. Sadly, that accident had a far worse outcome. In June of 2013, a vacant building in the process of demolition collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift store, killing six people and trapping more than a dozen under the rubble. As in the Mississippi floor collapse, an ominous rumble was the only foreshadowing sign of the collapse. Search and rescue crews worked frantically to help those trapped, and saved many lives that would otherwise have been lost. Many people were taken to the hospital and most were released within days of the incident.
The Philadelphia collapse was initially termed an “industrial accident” because it occurred on a demolition site. Investigators reported there were no violations or complaints, though several local residents and shop employees claimed they worried about a possible collapse for days before the accident. Months after the collapse, however, the contractor responsible for overseeing the demolition was charged with six counts of third-degree murder and another six counts of involuntary manslaughter. It is alleged that a day before the crash, the contractor removed bricks and braces that had supported the wall even though the architect warned him not to.
Building collapses like the recent ones in Mississippi and Philadelphia can be frightening events, and often result in serious injury. Potential causes of building collapses include:
- Structural problems, including a lack of support beams or anchoring
- Botched demolitions
- Design defects
- Foundation defects
- Preventable fire or water damage
- Failure to adhere to design specifications
- Defective building materials
- Construction and maintenance deficiencies
- Improper renovation
- Poor workmanship
- Overlooked building deterioration
- Unsafe excavation operations
- Vehicular impact and collision
- Heavy snow
- Internal or external explosions
Victims of building collapses may be entitled to compensation under the law of premises liability, which obligates property owners, engineers, and architects to provide safe buildings and structures.
Building collapses involve complex legal issues and a thorough examination of architectural and engineering standards. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Giddens Law Firm have the knowledge and skill to handle even the most challenging of building collapse cases. The Mississippi Personal Injury Attorneys at Giddens Law Firm passionately fights for the full recovery of each of our accident victims. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to see how we can help you.