Published On: Fri, Jul 11th, 2014

Building collapses in downtown Merida

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The roof of a construction site on Calle 54 between 65 and 67 collapsed at 7:50 am on Thursday July 10th, leaving at least 16 people injured.
According to the authorities, the roof collapsed on top of several workers doing construction work inside the building.  The facility was about to open to the public under the name of Carne Mart. The opening was scheduled for early August. On the day before the collapse, the business placed a sign soliciting personnel. 
Members of the Fire Department, Paramedics, Red Cross, Municipal Police, Public Security and Civil Protection came to the site to rescue the workers. Sixteen people remained trapped for more than two hours, but fortunately nobody was killed.  Vehicular traffic was closed for several hours on Calle 65 and Calle 67, where the rescue teams were working.
Rescue workers

Rescue workers

“We were installing a column when the roof fell, we heard a very loud noise, could not see anything and almost could not breathe,” said Miguel Abelardo Uc Caamal, a 22 year old construction worker injured in the incident.  Miguel suffered blows to the leg and head, and was unable to move to free himself.  Others who were not badly injured were helping their co-workers.
“We could not see anything,” Miguel added. “So we began to communicate by whistling.  A few minutes later the rescue teams arrived, and got us out of the place.”  He added that construction had been ongoing for two weeks, and they were in the final stages of the renovation.
Rescue workers arrived just minutes after the incident

Rescue workers arrived just minutes after the incident

All the injured were rescued by the emergency services, assisted by the K-9 Units of the Ministry of Public Safety and Municipal Police.
The workers, all from the town of Uayma, Yucatán would arrive in Merida on Monday morning, work all week and return to their hometown Saturday afternoon. They stated they were working without any social security or other legal benefits.
“After this accident, I am OK to keep working, but two of my colleagues will not be able to work for a long time,” Miguel said.
The remains of the building were demolished with machinery

The remains of the building were demolished with machinery

Among the injured are Miguel Abelardo; José Daniel Ku Coba, 47 years old; Angel Cupul Uc, 32; Rodrigo Nahuat Coba, 19; Roque Jacinto Coba, 30; Carlos Luis Euan, 25; Roberto Armín Poot, 30; Isidro Iuit Poot, 32; Ku José del Socorro, 32, and Jose de Jesus Poot, 33.
Physicians at the Agustin O’Horan Hospital reported four men in serious condition: Daniel de Jesús Euán Ay, Ángel Cupul, José Uc Caamal y José del Socorro Uc.
Another victim, Carlos Can, was trapped under the rubble for more than 40 minutes; blocks and beams had to be removed in order to reach him.  He was unconscious when he was finally pulled out of the rubble, and paramedics used an artificial respirator and cardiac monitoring equipment to keep him alive. He had suffered severe head trauma, a broken right leg and multiple contusions. Rescuers said it was a miracle he had survived.
Dogs of SSP Canine Unit and the Municipal Police inspected the site to make sure nobody else was trapped under the rubble. At 10 o’clock Army personnel arrived to secure the site.
It has been suggested that the roof collapse was caused by the inferior condition of the original building, which dated from the early twentieth century.  According to this theory, when workers were installing the beams, the walls could not bear the weight and collapsed. The official report by the City Attorney General’s Office that will determine the exact cause is still to come.

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