Metal pieces fall from downtown Austin building onto cars

Metal pieces fall from 5th+Colorado onto cars below. March 3, 2017 (KXAN Photo)
Metal pieces fall from 5th+Colorado onto cars below. March 3, 2017 (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Large construction debris and pieces of metal rained down on the street from an 18-story building in downtown Austin, Friday afternoon.

The pieces of metal fell from 5th+Colorado, located at 201 W. 5th St. “My wife and my 2 year old and 6 month old were down the sidewalk here and we had just made it across the street here and we heard loud noises in front of us,” Colton Brugger said. “We saw some of the metal falling off of the building, it was hitting the sidewalk and the scaffolding and some vehicles.”

Austin police say no one was injured by the debris. Officers, who shut down West Fifth in front of the building, were asking drivers and pedestrians to avoid the area.

“I wouldn’t want my family to have been… in front of where they were and I certainly don’t want someone else walking under this building if it’s not safe,” Brugger says.

David Nelson, who played football for the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, tweeted that he saw “7-8 huge chunks” of the building fall and land on cars. “Praise God no one was injured,” he said.

Brugger said he was dissatisfied with the way building managers on scene handled the situation.

“I help them out right away, and they didn’t really offer much help to me, and the little bit of information they did give me, I suggested they give to the public and and they said they don’t need to give any information to anybody but me,” Brugger says. He explains he not only witnessed the incident, he also helped clean metal from the road.

“I’m so sad that they don’t feel compelled to make it abundantly clear from the moment it happens, that they’re doing everything possible to solve it. To make sure everything is safe, to make sure we can go about our business and not ever worry about something falling from overhead,” Brugger said.

In August 2016, glass fell 48 floors from Austin’s tallest building, the Austonian. The single glass pane fell from a balcony and crashed to the ground. No one was injured. In June of 2011, two people were hurt when glass fell from the W Hotel, closing it for several days.

The property owner released the following statement:

Lincoln Property Company places tremendous value on the safety of our environments. Unfortunately, earlier this afternoon, there was an incident at our 5th+Colorado property. We immediately worked with authorities to secure the area and were profoundly grateful to conclude no one suffered any injuries. A swift internal investigation makes us reasonably certain the cause and scope has been determined. Specifically, a window washer applied an undue amount of force to one awning, causing a total of five to fall. The application of force on the awnings is not in-keeping with our protocols. A more thorough investigation remains underway, and our safety rules and procedures will be reviewed, reinforced and reemphasized with all workers affiliated with our building. Again, Lincoln Property Company values safety and is incredibly grateful no injuries were sustained.

Pieces of falling metal pieces cleaned up from Fifth Street. March 3, 2017 (KXAN Photo/Leslie Rangel)
Pieces of falling metal pieces cleaned up from Fifth Street. March 3, 2017 (KXAN Photo/Leslie Rangel)
Crews at 5th and Colorado after construction debris falls onto cars below. (Courtesy/David Nelson)
Crews at 5th and Colorado after construction debris falls onto cars below. (Courtesy/David Nelson)

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