International Nutrition plant likely to be demolished -
Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 12:00 am / Updated at 12:06 pm
International Nutrition plant likely to be demolished

The deadly collapse at International Nutrition in south-­central Omaha caused so much structural damage that the plant probably will be demolished.

After the plant was stabilized enough Tuesday for rescuers to retrieve the last body trapped beneath the rubble, city and federal inspectors surveyed the damage.

“The structure has been compromised, not just in the area where the accident occurred but in other parts of the building,” said Jay Davis, superintendent of building and development for the City of Omaha. “Some of the structural beams and columns have been compromised further than we initially thought.”

The industrial accident Monday at 7706 I Plaza killed two workers — David Ball, 47, and Keith Everett, 53.

Ten workers were treated for injuries; four were still hospitalized Wednesday in Omaha and Lincoln.

A spokesman for the company said Wednesday that workers continue to be paid during their time away from work.

The company has not yet made decisions about what will happen to the plant structure or to its production operation, said the spokesman, Doug Parrott of Bailey Lauerman.

Fire officials on Monday said that about 25 percent of the building appeared to be damaged. But after Ball's body was recovered the following day, inspectors got their first good look at the damage.

Davis said it's clear the structure is “severely damaged.”

“There's not a lot, I think, they can salvage at this point,” he said.

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The building is now under city oversight, and signs have been posted declaring it unsafe to enter. The owner is providing security to keep people out.

It will be up to the owner to decide whether to demolish it or try to salvage part of it, Davis said. But nothing can be demolished until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration finishes its on-site inspection.

Federal inspectors entered the facility late Tuesday with city officials, collecting evidence and taking photographs, OSHA spokesman Scott Allen said. They may not need to re-enter the building, he said, opening the way for a decision to be made on the structure's future.

Inspectors are working with structural engineers and experts in grain dust to try to determine what might have caused the accident. They also continue to interview the employer and employees and any potential witnesses.

Also read: Recovery of second body at International Nutrition building a seven-hour job (desktop / mobile)

Photos: Accident at International Nutrition plant

Contact the writer: Barbara Soderlin    |   402-444-1336

Barbara Soderlin covers food safety, ConAgra, technology and employment/unemployment issues.

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