EDMONTON – While it’s still not known what caused a portion of Westin Hotel’s south wall to collapse Sunday morning, the downtown hotel has resumed operations.
No injuries were reported, but Edmonton Fire Rescue evacuated the hotel and several roads were closed shortly after being called at 10 a.m. Sunday.
“Some of the south-facing wall was falling onto the street, specifically the south side, between 99 Street and 100 Street, also into the parking lot,” explained Patrycia Thenu, EPS Communications on Sunday.
On Monday, the neighbouring parking lot was still closed, and two lanes of 100 Street were also blocked off as crews continue to search for answers.
District Chief Randy Shakura of Edmonton Fire Rescue believes the situation could have been worse.
“The potential here was huge for injury.”
It’s believed there were about 250 guests staying at the hotel when the incident happened. Luckily, no one was trapped or injured.
“The Westin sent me over to the MacDonald [hotel] and paid all my expenses. Paid for my parking…treated me very well,” said hotel guest Bob MacMullin.
On Sunday afternoon, engineers determined there was no structural issue with the building. The collapse only affected the façade of the building.
The hotel says it has hired a construction company out of Calgary to both fix the hole and piece together what caused it.
The city expects the final report on that, but says it is not part of the investigation.
“Ongoing building maintenance is the responsibility of the building owner and is not something the city gets involved with,” said Eugene Gyorfi, the City of Edmonton’s director of building permits and inspections.
Gyorfi calls this a “fairly unusual event.”
“We don’t see failures like this on a typical basis,” he said. “It’s very, very rare.”
The Westin released the following statement on Monday:
The Westin Edmonton has been welcoming guests since given the all clear [Sunday] afternoon by City of Edmonton officials. The first guests returned to the hotel just after 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
At this time, the hotel would like to provide an update as guests and local residents will notice new fencing and construction crews that will be active in the area for the next couple of weeks.
Engineers and contractors have been retained to evaluate and repair the area. Fencing has been placed around the damaged brick wall and parking lot area. Covering is being constructed over the sidewalk on the east side of 100th St. Scaffolding will be going up shortly so the work crew can access and begin a controlled demolition of the exposed brick and surrounding area. This will be followed by clean up before masonry work commences; replacing the bricks.
The hotel continues to work closely with city officials in securing the required work and building permits. The hotel would like to reiterate its appreciation of the assistance from all authorities and officials during yesterday’s incident. Our number one responsibility is providing our guests and associates a safe and comfortable environment.
With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News
© Shaw Media, 2014