Three workers were killed and one was injured after a stairwell collapsed on Monday afternoon in a building that was under construction in Houston, the authorities said.
The Houston Fire Department’s technical rescue team responded to the accident, the department said in a statement. The injured worker was taken to a nearby hospital and was in “stable condition,” the department said.
The three bodies had not yet been retrieved as of Monday evening, a spokesman for the city’s Office of Emergency Management said, as the rescue team coordinated with an engineer at the site to “secure the safety of the building.” All 240 workers on the site have been accounted for, he said.
The stairwell in the 15-story building was a “precast interior” concrete staircase — stairs made to look as if they were floating — said Alanna Reed, a spokeswoman for Houston Public Works. The stairs that collapsed were “in the process of being set,” she said.
The collapse started near the 13th and 14th floors, Capt. Ruy Lozano of the Houston Fire Department told KPRC, a local television station. The stairs collapsed to the first floor, he said.
Names of the victims were not immediately released.
Inspectors from the Public Works Department visited the site for a routine check on Monday, before the collapse, Ms. Reed said, and found no “red flag.” They returned after the accident to confirm that it was the stairwell that had collapsed, she said.
On Friday, inspectors performed a check of the construction site to approve a ceiling covering and had no concerns, Ms. Reed said. “As far as our structural team was concerned, Harvey Builders was doing everything they were supposed to,” she said.
Harvey Builders, the construction company, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday evening.
The building, in the City Centre area of West Houston, is planned as an office for Marathon Oil. Employees were set to move into the space in the second half of 2021, the company said when it announced plans for the site in January.
A spokeswoman for Marathon Oil said, “We are saddened to learn that an accident occurred at the construction site for the future Houston headquarters of Marathon Oil.” The company has “offered our assistance to the building contractors as they respond to this accident,” she said.