Washington DC

DC Taking Additional Safety Measures After Building Collapse, Mayor Says

A construction worker is paralyzed after he was trapped for nearly two hours in a collapsed building

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D.C. is putting new measures into place to try to prevent building collapses a week after a multi-story construction site toppled down, trapping and severely injuring a man, the mayor's office announced.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news release Friday seven initiatives will enhance safety reviews of multifamily and commercial properties in the city.

The steps include mandating proactive reporting of unsafe structural conditions, increasing the scrutiny of engineering and implementing real-time reporting of required inspections.

The sister of a construction worker who was trapped in a collapsed building in Northwest D.C. says he is paralyzed and has a long recovery ahead. News4’s Mark Segraves reports.

Bowser said the actions are in direct response to the collapse on Kennedy Street NW as well as the deadly condo building collapse in Surfside, Florida.

Leonardo Moreto DaSilva, 27, was working on a building in the 900 block of Kennedy Street NW Thursday afternoon when it suddenly collapsed.

"He remembers hearing a crack and then, like, in a few seconds, the building collapsed. He said there was no time to even think," DaSilva's sister Leidiane Guimaraes told News4.

Firefighters sawed through layer upon layer of rubble to get to DaSilva, who had only eight inches of space around him.

Team coverage from News4's Mark Segraves and Shomari Stone.

"He thought he was going to die," Guimaraes said.

Officials with D.C.'s Department of Regulatory Affairs have said that the building site was up-to-date on inspections and was not cited for any violations.

Online records show the property was set to become a condo building called "The Ralph."

Below are the seven new measures D.C. says it will implement:

• Reviewing all active construction projects by 10Square Development and Beck Vissat, the property owner of 916 Kennedy St NW, to ensure compliance with DC Code
• Drafting an administrative bulletin and/or legislation requiring all building owners and engineering firms to report and notify DCRA of unsafe structural conditions – proactively identifying buildings before they become unsafe sites
• Legally requiring multifamily residential building owners to file with DCRA structural assessment reports and remediation plans, drafted by a licensed engineer, for any repairs to unsafe structural conditions prior to permit application
• Digitizing special inspections conducted by private companies and engineers-of-record with real-time tracking of periodic and continuous inspections – ensuring potential safety issues are caught quickly
• Creating training for plan reviewers to refresh and instill knowledge on shear wall construction
• Retroactively reviewing for adequate shear wall designs in all new, multifamily, light-framed wood-construction buildings permitted within the District over the last three years starting with buildings certified by FMC & Associates
• Researching and procuring engineering software to model, perform advanced and complex structural analysis, and standardize structural reviews in critical building design elements

10Square released the following statement: "After reading Mayor Bowser's announcement, I am glad to hear DCRA is implementing new structural design review policies during the permit review process. Hopefully, their new approach will help avoid future catastrophes such as this. As a firm that has been in good standing with DCRA since our inception, I welcome their compliance review of my active construction projects. As always, I will continue to cooperate and support their efforts." 

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