A morning of indoor swimming at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado, ended with the injury of six people when the spiral duct system collapsed into the pool.
According to AP News, the incident occurred around 9:50 a.m. on Saturday, May 6, and of the six people who were hurt, two were taken to the hospital to be treated for life-threatening injuries.
"We don't have any information about what led up to the collapse," Aurora Fire Chief Alec Oughton said during a press briefing the day of the collapse. "There will be an investigation. That will be all the Gaylord's responsibility."
SNIPS NEWS reached out to the Deanna French, a spokesperson for the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, to learn more about the investigation. In an email response, French told SNIPS, "We are devastated by this traumatic incident. On Saturday, our top priorities were to support emergency responders and render assistance to those directly impacted, and we’re very grateful to the Aurora Fire Department for their swift actions. Moving forward, we are focused on helping our affected guests and associates, and we are working with the appropriate experts to conduct a thorough investigation."
Part of that investigation may mean turning to RK Mechanical, a Denver-based company that provides construction, manufacturing and fabrication services. The company was involved with the construction at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center five years ago.
SNIPS reached out to RK Mechanical for comment, and in an email response, Jon Kinning, RK Industries COO and Vice President, tells SNIPS, "RK Mechanical was one of the contractors that installed mechanical equipment at the Gaylord Rockies Resort during its construction roughly five years ago. We are and will continue to cooperate with local authorities, the Gaylord, and other contractors to determine the cause of this accident. In the meantime, our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this unfortunate event, and we are here to help in any way we can."
The internal investigation into the ductwork collapse isn't enough for some. In fact, just days after the incident, Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #9 called for an outside investigation to be conducted. The letter, which can be read in full here, is signed by Jon Alvino, business manager for S.M.A.R.T. Local No. 9, and was sent to Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, Governor Jared Polis, Aurora City Council Members, State Attorney General Phil Weiser and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"We sent over a dozen letters out just trying to request some assistance and guidance in putting, for lack of a better term, some pressure on the Gaylord to perform an independent investigation," Alvino told SNIPS. "The reason we feel that a third-party independent investigation is so crucial is in the interest in public safety and full transparency."
As of press time, Alvino said there's been no word on the investigation, and there are many questions that are still unanswered. What hanger system was used? Was all the material used rated to be used in a chlorinated environment? Were all manufacturer specifications followed throughout this? Were SMACNA standards followed?
Alvino said that upon inspection of photos from the site, Local No. 9 may have reason to believe some installation procedures at the site ran contrary to SMACNA standards. He said he has heard back from a council member and State Attorney General Phil Weiser's office.
"I have complete, 100% trust in State Attorney General Phil Weiser that if there is something that he can do that falls within the jurisdiction of his office, he will," Alvino said.
As of press time, there have been no new developments or information regarding the internal investigation. Alvino said there are now barriers preventing people from seeing inside the pool area.
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