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Engineers Check Convention Center After Concrete Falls From Ceiling Beam

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Paul Martino Paul Martino
Paul joined KDKA-TV in 1984 as a general assignment reporter and later...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Chunks of concrete came tumbling down from the ceiling Wednesday night at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and engineers are now trying to make sure the building is safe.

The concrete fell from a ceiling beam onto an exhibition hall floor below. Fortunately, no one was injured.

KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti Reports:

“We’re confident that the building is safe and secure, and we’ve made a real effort to do that,” said Tim Muldoon, the general manager of the convention center.

The area beneath the deteriorating concrete has been cordoned off. It’s right in the center of an exhibition hall that will be packed this weekend.

Starting Friday, thousands of people will flood the convention center.

There’s a Health and Fitness Expo ahead of this Sunday’s Pittsburgh Marathon. The convention center is where the race registration is as well. But operators are confident the building is safe.

On Thursday evening, Mayor Bill Peduto said the Sports & Exhibition Authority, the owners of the complex, told him that their engineers inspected the ceiling where the concrete came down and said the problem was not structural, but more cosmetic in nature.

“We don’t know, at this point, what caused the problem, but the concrete that fell was basically contained,” Mayor Peduto said.

KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports:

The mayor said because it did not appear related to the building structure; hopefully, “the repair work would not be too expensive.”

Besides the SEA engineers, city building inspectors are also examining the damaged area to make sure it was safe.

This isn’t the first danger inside the 1.5 million square foot convention center.

During a $350 million renovation in 2002, a 165-ton truss came tumbling down. A construction worker was killed. An investigation determined they used the wrong bolts to hold the truss.

Then, in 2007, a section of concrete floor on a loading dock collapsed under the weight of a tractor trailer. The building was shut down for more than a month.

KDKA’s Paul Martino Reports:

Even so, center operators remain confident the building is safe.

“We’ve had building inspectors in and we’re going to have our own structural engineers in,” said Muldoon. “But we feel, we feel very good that we’re taking all the measures to insure the safety of everyone.”

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