Worker recounts parking garage collapse

1 remains missing in rubble of Miami-Dade College West collapse; Classes to resume elsewhere on Monday

Author: Ben Kennedy, Reporter, bkennedy@Local10.com
Published On: Oct 12 2012 10:39:41 AM EDT   Updated On: Oct 14 2012 01:22:09 AM EDT
Collapse Friday
DORAL, Fla. -

A construction worker recounted the moment when part of a parking garage collapsed at Miami-Dade College West during his first day on the job.

"It sound like somebody put TNT on a building and blew it up," said Anthony Williams.

Williams said he jumped two stories to escape the crumbling structure when it collapsed on Wednesday.

Williams said just before noon, he heard what sounded like an explosion and then screams to get out.

"It was smoking, so we couldn't see where we was running at -- there was so much smoke," said Williams. "So, the only option I had was to jump from the second floor."

Earlier Friday, construction engineers said a crane had hit the structure on Tuesday, but the building was deemed safe. Williams has since hired an attorney as he seeks compensation for his injuries.

"I think it's a terrible tragedy. It sounds like this is something that never should have happened," said attorney Robert Rubenstein.

Williams said he's lucky to be alive.

"It's real crazy. You could just talk to somebody for one minute and then they gone," said Williams.

Robert Budhoo

Family frustrated with search effort

Meantime, the family of Robert Budhoo, an electrical worker from Tamarac, is frustrated by how long the search is taking to find him.

Budhoo, a father of three who moved to South Florida from Jamaica, has been missing since Wednesday. The mission to find him is considered a recovery operation.

"I really just hope he's alive but, if he is, I don't feel like they are giving him a fighting chance to survive," said Britney Budhoo, the victim's niece. "He's been under there and dead or alive they need to get him out."

Rescuers used a crane to move the large concrete slabs left in the pile of the rubble. Rescuers were focused on the western side of the rubble where they believe Budhoo was last working when they searched on Friday.

Carlos Hurtado De Mendoza, 48, and Jose Calderon, 60, were found in the debris on Wednesday. Samuel Perez, 53, had both of his legs amputated when he was pulled from the rubble early Thursday but later died at the hospital.

Classes on Monday moved to other locations

While Miami-Dade College West remains closed after one of its parking garages collapsed, classes will be moved to other locations on Monday.

School officials said daytime classes will be shifted to the MDC north campus. The college was establishing a pick-up/drop-off point at International Mall for students in need of transportation to the north campus.

Nighttime classes will take place at Ronald Reagan Senior High School in Doral.

“The College, our community and many families have suffered a terrible tragedy with the collapse of the garage under construction at the West Campus,” MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón said in a news release. “We send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the workers who lost their lives, and our wishes for speedy recovery to those who have been injured. We have been reaching out to the families to offer our support.”