PHOTOS: Facility being built at Rhode Island university collapses

People walk past bent steel at a construction site where an athletic practice facility on the Bryant University campus collapsed Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in Smithfield, R.I. Workers were installing steel beams on a new indoor practice facility around 8:15 a.m. when the beams collapsed, university spokeswoman Elizabeth O’Neil said. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Construction crews and emergency officials Tuesday afternoon remained on the site of a structure collapse at Bryant University.

A steel structure, which will eventually be an indoor practice facility, came tumbling down shortly after 8 a.m.

“[Workers] just started construction on it. They were erecting steel. Something happened at the site and the steel structure that was in place fell over,” Smithfield Fire Chief Robert Seltzer said at a news conference Tuesday morning. “We’re not sure why that happened. It’s under investigation at this time.”

The Victims

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Photos: Bryant Univ. Structure Collapse »

Some of the workers were at the top of the 30-foot structure at the time. Metal beams came down on them. In total six workers were hurt.

Officials said all of them needed help getting out, and some of them were trapped underneath the structure. One worker had to be cut out of his harness.

Officials said all of the victims were conscious at the scene and there were no head injuries. None of the six victims have life threatening injuries.

When the structure collapsed, Seltzer said issued a Level One response – meaning they were able to call upon five additional rescue vehicles.

The Investigation

During the same news conference, Bryant University Spokeswoman Liz O’Neil said the practice facility is one of several projects currently underway on campus and that AZ Corporation, based out of Stonington, Connecticut, was overseeing the project.

A check of OSHA records indicate there have been no major safety violations with this company within the last five years.

AZ Corporation has done work for the Rhode Island Department of Administration and, in addition to the Bryant site, is currently managing an Electric Boat construction project in Quonset.

O’Neil initially named a different construction company in the news conference. However, she later provided clarification after the Boston-based company told Eyewitness News it was not managing the site in question.

She said when complete, the facility will be 120 yards of covered turf field. Sports that will eventually use the facility include lacrosse, and field hockey, as well as club and intramural sports.

O’Neil said crews broke ground in May and the building was scheduled to be completed in January 2016.

During the news conference, O’Neil said Bryant plants to move forward with the project, pending the findings of an investigation into the incident.

Classes are not yet in session at Bryant University, but are scheduled to begin on September 8. School officials said only athletes and international students are on campus, and none of them were injured.

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