The companies behind the newly-installed pedestrian bridge that collapsed at Florida International University in South Florida are major construction firms with histories of completing large, expensive projects.
At least six people died and several were injured after the bridge collapsed on a busy road in Sweetwater, Florida, on Thursday. Authorities say they believe more bodies could be buried under the rubble, which crushed at least eight vehicles.
The firms behind the bridge were Miami-Dade-based Munilla Construction Management (MCM), and Tallahassee-based FIGG Bridge Group, companies which have both been fined by regulators for safety violations in the past.
MCM has received 11 safety violations and been fined more than $50,000 since 2013, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records.
OSHA records show violations and penalties faced by the construction firm between 2014 and 2017. On Sept. 19, 2014, MCM was hit with 10 individual violations including one that was classified under the category “serious.” That violation, for which the firm was fined $6,300, appears to be a violation of “protective systems” safety standards.
The Miami Herald reports that MCM has been hit with multiple negligence and personal liability cases, alleging that one such case involved a dispute with a subcontractor who walked off the job and cited safety issues with a reconstruction project on Miami-Dade county’s Red Road.
The Herald notes that liability claims are common for most construction companies.
In a Facebook post, MCM described itself as a “family company” that was “devastated and doing everything we can to help.” The post added that “a thorough investigation will be carried out to determine the reasons for what happened.”
The FIGG Bridge Group, the other construction team involved with building the pedestrian bridge, was fined $28,000 in 2012 after a 90-ton section of a bridge collapsed onto railroad tracks in Chesapeake, Virginia, causing minor injuries to four workers, according to the Virginian-Pilot.
The firm told TIME: “We are stunned by today’s tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge that was under construction over Southwest Eighth Street in Miami. Our deepest sympathies are with all those affected by this accident. We will fully cooperate with every appropriate authority in reviewing what happened and why. In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before. Our entire team mourns the loss of life and injuries associated with this devastating tragedy, and our prayers go out to all involved.”
It was not immediately clear what caused the deadly collapse of the new 950-ton bridge to Sweetwater, which was installed at FIU Saturday.
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