Machine topples outside Snygg

A sheeting and shoring machine fell over outside of Snygg Hall Thursday afternoon, emitting smoke which forced the building to be evacuated.

A crew of three construction workers were drilling holes for sheeting and shoring when they hit unstable soil and the machine tipped over. The cab of the machine filled with diesel fuel smoke that wafted into Snygg Hall, setting off fire alarms.

University Police Chief Cynthia Adam said that the building was evacuated until the smoke and fumes had dissipated. There was no permanent damage to Snygg Hall.

"They turned just wrong with the unit and it toppled over," said Piez Project Coordinator Allen Bradberry. "With it on its side like that the oil pan tipped and flooded the engine cylinders."

Although the drill operator had to forcibly exit the cabin of the machine, no one was seriously injured in the accident. There were 15 construction workers on site at the time of the accident.

For construction to resume, a crane must be brought in to remove the sheeting and shoring machine. The crane could arrive as early as Friday, Bradberry said.

"This obviously puts a delay in the work out there," Bradberry said. "We expect to have a crane into right the machine and construction should resume next week."

At the time of the accident, the construction workers were building a retaining wall.

"It’s a retaining wall that will keep soil in place while excavation is taking place on the other side," Bradberry said.

Mechanics from Hayward Baker began an evaluation of the toppled machine to determine the damage done. Hayward Baker is a subcontractor of W.D. Malone, which is in charge of the preparation work for the Piez construction project. The evaluation is ongoing.

In order to prevent an accident from happening again, large planks will be put in place to create a stable platform construction to occur on, according to Bradberry. The machine would then work off the platform.

There are currently no plans to add barriers around the construction site.

"The fencing is in place. That’s the primary safeguard," Bradberry said. "As the work takes place that’s what separates the public from the work area."