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Company involved in constructing FIU pedestrian bridge previously fined by OSHA

OSHA fined MCM more than $50,000 for violations

SWEETWATER, Fla. – A full investigation is underway as agencies work to determine how an innovative pedestrian bridge connecting Florida International University with the city of Sweetwater suddenly crashed down onto Eighth Street Thursday, killing at least six people.  

"This is absolutely the most largest pedestrian bridge moved in the United States in this fashion," Juan Munilla, of Munilla Construction Management, had said prior to the collapse. 

The bridge was built using something called accelerated bridge construction. 

On Saturday, Munilla praised the safety aspect the bridge would provide students. 

"We're a company of six brothers and I'm one of the brothers," he added.

In the hours after the collapse, the wife of another brother, Jorge Munilla, posted on Facebook, marking herself safe. 

No one would speak to Local 10 News reporter Amy Viteri Friday at the company's South Miami headquarters. 

A statement from MCM read: "The National Transportation Safety Board is commencing an in-depth investigation of yesterday's FIU pedestrian bridge collapse. MCM is fully cooperating with the NTSB in its effort to determine the cause of this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the families and victims.  We have been in business for more than 35 years, and safety has always been our number one priority. We are truly heartbroken."

In the last five years, OSHA has fined MCM more than $50,000 for violations, many of them serious. 

The company and the Munilla family are also large political donors. Since 2000, they have given $410,000 in political donations, including $58,000 to Gov. Rick Scott, $47,300 to Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign and $81,075 to the Republican Party.

The Tallahassee company which designed the bridge, FIGG Bridge Group, also has a history of OSHA violations. 

The company paid nearly $10,000 in fines after a bridge they designed in Virginia collapsed onto a railway, injuring workers. 

A statement from FIGG read: "The Jordan Bridge opened in October 2012 and restored a vital connection to Portsmouth and Chesapeake. The incident that occurred during construction was a construction equipment property damage issue that had nothing to do with the final bridge. 

"It resulted in the need for a new temporary erection truss to build the last four spans of the bridge. A citation issued by the state was not related in any way to the structural integrity of the completed project, and is not the reason the erection truss required replacing. 

"The collapse of the pedestrian bridge in Miami is an unprecedented event -- no other bridge designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. has ever experienced such a collapse."
 


 


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