1 dies, several injured due to construction collapse in Brickell

Developer says section of formwork fell from top of structure

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor , Derek Shore - Reporter

MIAMI - One person died Wednesday, and several others were injured, after a construction mishap in Brickell.

Sky 10 was above the Echo Brickell building at 1451 Brickell Ave. at 5 p.m. and saw one vehicle that appeared to be damaged from falling wood and other debris.

The vehicle had a busted windshield and its roof was smashed in.

Clara Garcia's sister Aracelis Mateo, 50, was trapped inside a car and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

She's in pain and probably we're still waiting on the doctor on whether she'll be released tonight, but we hope she stays," Garcia said. "She was driving and all of a sudden she heard the noise and all the pieces from the glass and debris were coming onto her car and her face. All she remembers is when somebody took her out of the car, and that's it." 

Rodolfo Tomarchio said he works near a window that faces the building.

"Two construction workers helped a woman out of her car (which was) crushed by debris," Tomarchio said.

Witnesses said Mateo was pinned inside her car.

"They pulled the door, and they were able to, I guess, save her, because she was trapped there," Gio Velasquez said.

Samuel Steer heard Mateo, who was trapped inside the car, cry for help. 

"We just heard loud crashing noises," Steer, a construction worker, said. "We hear this big crush, you know? We hear someone yell out, 'Help me, help me!'" 

The person who died had a heart attack while fleeing the area where a scaffold collapse occurred, according to Miami Fire Rescue. 

"What we know is that at least four or five people were injured," Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said, noting that the injuries were minor. "Some woman was driving a car that was smashed. Some people were injured as they were walking in Brickell and trying to get away."

Quincy Williams, 34, is among those injured. 

"He has a laceration on top of his head and they say they're trying to sew it up and clean it out now as we speak," Lydann Williams, Quincy's brother,  said.

The developer of the building released a statement, expressing condolences to the people injured in the construction accident.

"Unfortunately, a section of form work has fallen from the top of the structure onto Brickell Avenue," Echo Brickell developer Property Markets Group (PMG) said in a statement. "We are currently working with city officials, the Fire Department and police to secure the site and to provide any and all assistance and information as needed. We are investigating the situation with our general contractor. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. We will release further details as they become available."

Traffic on Brickell Avenue has been shut down from 14th to 15th Street because of the construction accident.

People at offices nearby said they weren't able to leave work on time because of the road closure.

City of Miami spokeswoman Diana Gonzalez said it's unclear when the condominium building was scheduled to be completed.

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