Federal Investigation Underway Into The Boise Airplane Hangar Collapse That Resulted In 3 Fatalities

Jamiesfeast – On Wednesday, a hangar being built at the airport in Boise, Idaho, collapsed, leaving approximately a dozen people injured, according to officials.

Federal investigators are currently working to determine the cause of the tragic collapse of a steel airplane hangar in Idaho. The incident occurred the previous evening, resulting in the loss of three lives and leaving several others with severe injuries. The investigation aims to shed light on what led to this devastating event.

The Boise Fire Department announced in the morning that OSHA investigators have taken over the scene. The hangar, located at the Boise Airport, is privately owned by Jackson Jet Center, a company specializing in charter flight and maintenance services.

The Ada County Coroner’s office had plans to disclose the identities of the deceased individuals once their family members were informed.

Nine other individuals sustained injuries in the incident, with five of them being in critical condition and consequently transported to local hospitals for immediate medical treatment. Due to privacy laws, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center officials were unable to provide any updates on the current condition of the injured patients.

Around 5 p.m., news of the collapse reached authorities, prompting first responders to immediately take action. Their primary objective was to stabilize the enormous structure while simultaneously working to rescue those who were trapped both inside and beneath it. The wreckage was strewn with twisted steel girders and panels, and a large crane lay folded within the debris.

According to a statement from Jeremy Haener, the company’s vice president, Inland Crane had been contracted to provide crane services for the hangar. However, at the time of the accident, most of the work had already been completed. Haener expressed that while none of Inland Crane’s employees were injured, the company deeply mourns the loss of its partners and friends.

According to Haener, the structural failure was not caused by any action taken by Inland Crane operators or the crane itself. This conclusion is based on accounts provided by Inland Crane operators, construction workers on site, and the steel erecting contractor.

During the accident, Haener stated that the crane was actively engaged in positioning an end truss.

The crane boom, the hydraulic arm of the equipment, snapped on impact when the building collapsed due to an unknown structural failure.

According to Aaron Hummel, the Operations Chief of the Fire Department, specialized rescue efforts were necessary for some of the victims who were on a hoist or elevated platform when the structure collapsed.

Boise Fire Chief Mark Niemeyer expressed his condolences to the families and loved ones impacted by the tragic incident that occurred in our Boise community yesterday. He commended the swift and professional response of all the first responders who worked diligently to rescue victims and provide care in a chaotic and immensely dangerous environment.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, steel erection, which is the type of work being carried out at the hangar, is considered one of the top 10 most hazardous occupations. Construction work itself can be dangerous, and this particular type of work poses significant risks.

According to the bureau, the construction industry recorded the highest number of fatal work injuries in 2002, the most recent year for which data is available. During that year, there were 1,056 work-related deaths in the sector, which translates to 13 out of every 100,000 full-time workers.

According to records from Boise city permitting, Big D Builders, a contractor based in Meridian, Idaho, has acquired permits to construct a 39,000-square-foot (3,623-square-meter) hangar for Jackson Jet Center.

Big D Builders did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment regarding the $8.1 million project, which was supposed to involve earth grading, a concrete foundation, and a metal building.

According to Hummel, the building’s rigid steel frame had already been erected, and construction crews were in the process of working on the structural components that would have connected the frame when the unexpected collapse occurred.

Hummel stated that the collapse was a widespread event, causing the main structural components to fall.

Details about possible causes of the collapse have not yet been released by officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

According to David Kearns, the area director for the Boise OSHA office, the investigation might last for approximately six months.

“It’s truly heartbreaking to see so many people in the valley mourning today,” expressed Kearns. “Regrettably, incidents like this serve as a powerful reminder of the paramount importance of prioritizing workplace safety and health as a fundamental value.”

According to the National Weather Service in Boise, wind can occasionally play a role in the collapse of buildings during construction. In fact, gusts of up to 20 mph (32 kph) were recorded at the airport just before the reported collapse.

According to Kearns, he is unable to discuss the potential influence of wind in this specific case. However, he does mention that in his past experience with unrelated investigations, he has encountered instances where wood-frame buildings collapsed due to insufficient bracing when exposed to strong winds.

According to OSHA records, Big D Builders has received multiple safety violations in the past decade. In 2014, they were cited for not providing proper training to workers on the correct procedures for erecting extension ladders. In 2017 and 2022, two separate violations were issued because subcontractor employees were found working near floor or wall openings without adequate fall protection. In 2023, Big D Builders received a repeat violation and was fined $21,875. OSHA found that workers were exposed to fall hazards while installing metal sheathing on a steel building roof.

According to the OSHA records, there is no evidence of any injuries occurring in relation to the violations mentioned. It is important to note that fall and ladder hazards are commonly cited by the agency as violations.

In a heartfelt statement, Jackson Jet Center officials expressed their sympathy for all those affected by this tragic event.

“We are currently unsure of the exact cause behind the hangar collapse,” the statement read. “At this moment, our priority is to provide support to our team members and partners as they navigate through this challenging period.”

The incident did not disrupt operations at Boise Airport.

Cody McGowan, who was working approximately 100 yards (90 meters) away from the building on Wednesday, suddenly heard a noise resembling a loud dog whine. Intrigued, he turned his gaze upward only to witness a colossal hangar collapsing in on itself. The towering structure, reaching a height of 3½ to 4 stories, was accompanied by the sight of the crane on top succumbing to the forces of destruction.

“As I approached the site, I couldn’t help but be taken aback,” he expressed. “The sight of a crumbling building was truly astonishing.”

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