NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -The search continues for a missing worker caught in the partial Hard Rock Hotel collapse.
New Orleans Fire officials say they’re focusing their efforts on the eight floors of collapsed rubble resting on a concrete deck.
Engineers and city leaders are keeping a close eye on the weather, taking precautions to ensure, as much as possible, water doesn’t further comprise the structure’s stability.
“With this rain water coming into the building, there’s a possibility of things moving around. I want people to be aware we’ve had, over the course of the last couple days, to see some concrete slidings, some peace is dropping off. Obviously water is going to add weight, it’s going to take away a little bit of the friction that’s holding pieces onto this building. You could certainly see things fall off of it. Don’t be alarmed. We have increased our evacuation zone,” said NOFD Superintendent Tim McConnell.
McConnell says the expansion of the evacuation zone includes a half a block on the Uptown side of Canal. He says that’s because engineers discovered the smaller, second crane to be just as damaged as the one visibly leaning on the left.
McConnell says they’re working with engineers to ensure the cranes don’t collapse, especially while search crews are trying to rescue someone. He says experts are their most valuable resource right now.
“These are the best in the field. These are the people who worked on the ground during 9/11 so we feel confident we have the best people, but this is not a simple operation. This is not something you do lightly. We want to make sure everyone safe and no one loses their life in this,” McConnell explained.
McConnell did not know exactly when search crews would wrap up their efforts for the night. He says that all depends on what they find.