CLEARWATER, Fla. - Clearwater firefighters say a construction worker is believed to be dead after a stairwell collapsed in a garage next to the Tampa Bay Water administrative offices on Monday.
First responders from across Pinellas County responded to the parking structure at 2575 Enterprise Road Monday afternoon.
Officials said two construction workers were conducting some stairwell repairs when two stories of the concrete stairwell collapsed, trapping one of the workers underneath. The other worker was not injured.
Division Chief John Klinefelter said a structural engineer determined the garage was safe for first responders, despite visible cracks on the exterior walls of the stairwell.
"At this point, we have heavy equipment that's en route to the location to begin disassembling the stairwell from the corner of the parking garage. The engineers have assured us that the stairwell, structurally, is separate from the parking garage so there’s little risk of collapse of the parking garage," said Clearwater Fire Rescue Division Chief John Klinefelter.
Tampa Bay Water said the garage is adjacent to their administrative office and is not their building. They said they are one of several companies that lease space in the parking garage.
The utility added that the construction workers are not Tampa Bay Water employees.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the construction workers and their families as emergency managers respond," said Tampa Bay Water General Manager Chuck Carden in a statement.
Family members of the construction workers gathered at the scene Monday evening and were told there was no chance that rescuers would find the worker alive.
"We do believe at this point it's going to be a recovery operation," Klinefelter said.
What caused the collapse was still under investigation.