Two-story NW Oklahoma City building collapses while being renovated, leaving one person critically injured

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The original story had a typo, which has been corrected.

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A construction worker was left critically injured Tuesday after a two-story building that was being renovated collapsed in Northwest Oklahoma City.

A lot of damage was left behind in the aftermath near NW 39th Street and North Pennsylvania Avenue.

“It doesn’t happen every day, but we’re prepared if it does,” said Battalion Chief and Public Information Officer for the Oklahoma City Fire Department Benny Fulkerson.

Fire officials called it a rare occurrence. The building was in shambles when firefighters arrived on scene and found the injured construction worker.

“That individual was already out of the building and was laying on the ground about 10 feet from where the building had collapsed,” Fulkerson said.

Photo goes with story
A building collapsed near NW 39th and Penn in Oklahoma City.

It’s unclear at this time how the worker got out of the building after it collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.

“They did leave with their lights and sirens on, so that indicates probably a significant injury,” Fulkerson said.

According to Fulkerson, before it collapsed it looked just like the building standing next to it. The walls were removed on the bottom floor, with only wooden studs holding it up. Everything on the second floor was intact. Fire officials said Tuesday’s high winds likely played a role.

“It’s blowing pretty hard today,” Fulkerson said. “The wind just blowing in under that first floor acts as a parachute, we believe.”

Now, Fulkerson said the focus has been turned to the building that’s still standing. It appears to be on stilts with only wooden studs holding it up. This prompted fire officials to keep everyone away from it for now.

“It also could be not structurally sound,” he said. “There could’ve, and likely were, other factors involved in the collapse as well, but that again is outside of the scope of the fire department.”

There were different people coming and going from the scene from inspectors to other construction workers. Fire officials said OSHA among, other agencies, will likely investigate how this all happened. As of Tuesday night, there is no update on the man who was injured.

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