Worker hurt when building set for demolition collapses in Miami Beach

Building had demolition permit, but not implosion permit, police say

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

One man was seriously injured Monday morning when a building set for demolition collapsed in Miami Beach, authorities said.

Ernesto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Miami Beach Police Department, said the 13-story building had a demolition permit but did not have an implosion permit, which would bring the structure down in one fell swoop. But something happened during the controlled demolition that sent the entire building down.

Debris from the former Marlborough House condominium building filled the surrounding area in the 5700 block of Collins Avenue and police shut down nearby streets for blocks. As of 4:30 p.m., the streets had reopened, police said.

Miami Beach Fire Rescue officials initially believed several people were hurt, but after an extensive search authorities said only one construction worker -- 46-year-old Samuel Landis -- was hurt. Paramedics rushed Landis to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he is listed in critical condition.

Witnesses said a piece of debris struck Landis just below the chest, throwing him several feet across Collins Avenue.

A man who saw what happened said the piece that hit the man was the size of a car. 

"The boulder hit him in the center, middle of Collins Avenue," witness Rodolfo Pages said.

Samuel Landis

Rodriguez said the incident is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

Miami Beach Fire Rescue Chief Virgil Fernandez said Allied Bean Demolition, the construction company involved, did a roll call on its employees and everyone has been accounted for.

A spokesperson for Allied Bean Demolition said the company is cooperating with the investigation.

Video from GC Construction, whose workers were at a building next door to the site, captured the demolition from start to finish. 

"We were both on the beach and I was standing. I had just gotten out of the water and I heard a huge -- like a thunder -- and I turned and I saw the building," witness June El Gharsi said. "And, like in slow motion, it just collapsed. And then there was all this white billowing smoke, and it didn't go in toward the ocean, but it kind of traveled north." 

Developers had planned to demolish the Marlborough House, built in 1961, to make way for a new 19-story residential tower on the ocean-front property.

(Warning video below contains graphic content)

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