Roof Collapse Claims One Life - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/10/03

Roof Collapse Claims One Life

An apartment pool-house in Gulfport collapsed Friday afternoon. One man was trapped underneath the crushed roof and died, another man got out alive.

The men worked for M.B. Demolition and Construction of Biloxi. They were trying to tear down the old pool-house at the "Brittany Apartments" on DeBuys Road when the structure suddenly collapsed.

It took firefighters about half an hour to reach the victim's body. But before emergency crews arrived, some apartment residents desperately tried to pull him to safety.

"I was sitting right by my couch, within 20 feet from it and it was just, it sounded like a gas explosion, boom, a real loud explosion," resident Alan Bor

Sandi Necaise witnessed the accident.

"We heard this explosion, it sounded like a fire explosion. When we came around, the whole building was down, and there was a gentleman who's leg was obviously hu

That man escaped, but his co-worker was pinned underneath the roof. That's when several residents rushed over, to try to save him.

"He's leaning down, and I'm leaning down with him, and we were looking through that crack, trying to lift it. It's just too heavy. We couldn't get no response, or anything out of it, so we knew it was pretty bad at the time," Bor

"They were trying to pull the plywood off so they could see if the gentleman was alive or dead, and of course, he was dead," Neca

As emergency crews pulled the victim from the rubble, residents could only watch in disbelief.

"It's horrible. I mean, especially since I got talking to them for the last few days. They were just doing their job," Bor

37-year old Donald McClain of Biloxi died. The other worker, 51-year old Frederick Foster, was hurt. He was treated for minor leg injuries and released.

We were unable to reach the demolition company for comment.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident, because it happened at a job site. The city of Gulfport and the Fire Department will also determine if there were any permitting or code violations.

by Trang Pham Bui

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