Deadly Building Collapse in Cleveland Kills Two Workers

Two men working as part of a crew demolishing a building on Brookpark Road in Cleveland, Ohio, died Jan. 24 when the building collapsed on top of them around 4:30 pm. The two men – Vincente Collazo of Cleveland, age 49, and a 60-year-old Youngstown man – had been on the job one day.

It took rescue workers several hours using large excavation equipment to move the concrete and beams that trapped the men. Witnesses said the two men were the only workers in the building when the roof of the structure collapsed on them. Authorities have not released the names of one the men, pending notification of his family. The bodies were recovered overnight.

According to the Cleveland Fire Department, building owner Howard Penker pulled all the necessary permits to demolish the nearly 100-year-old building and hired Collazo to do the work. Collazo hired the worker from Youngstown, as well as two additional workers, to tear down the building, which had been used by Ideal Builders Supply and Fuel to mix mortar. Shortly after the crew began working, something went horribly wrong.

"It appears that they were cutting some beams on the second floor and obviously something went wrong," said Brent Collins, assistant chief for the Cleveland Fire Department.. "The building fell in a direction they obviously didn't want it to fall."

A worker in a nearby building reported hearing a loud “boom,” but said he knew the building was being demolished and expected some noise. Approximately 10 minutes later, he heard the sound of sirens. “I knew then something bad had happened,” said Victor Pinkervitch.

OSHA is on scene and is investigating.

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