Construction continues after building collapse

Workers were 21 feet off the ground when a Town of Williston salt shed that was under construction gave way last week.
Workers were 21 feet off the ground when a Town of Williston salt shed that was under construction gave way last week.

By Matt Sutkoski
Observer correspondent

Three of the four people injured in last week’s collapse of a Town of Williston salt shed are out of the hospital as investigation into the cause of the accident continues.
Work has resumed on a new public works building on the site, but rebuilding of the collapsed salt shed is still on hold for now.
On Aug. 7, workers were almost finished installing roof trusses on the salt shed that was under construction when the structure collapsed.
Workers were 21 feet off the ground when the shed gave way, the Williston Fire Department said. One person was entrapped and subsequently freed by rescuers. Four people were taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
The project’s contractor is South Burlington-based Neagley & Chase Construction Co. Company president Mark Neagley said Tuesday that one of the injured employees will return to work soon.
Three others are recovering from various injuries. One of the employees was still in the hospital Tuesday afternoon, with blunt trauma injuries.
All are expected to make a full recovery, Neagley said. “We’re thankful everybody is on the road to recovery,” he said.
Nobody is sure what caused the accident at 291 Avenue A, just off Industrial Avenue. “There are a lot of people trying to figure that out right now,” Neagley said on Tuesday, noting that his company is investigating, as are Vermont state labor officials and insurers.
Williston Public Works Director Bruce Hoar, responding to an email inquiry, said he is not sure whether the incident will affect the public works complex construction cost and completion date. He said insurance and VOSHA investigators had cleared the site for debris removal so work could begin soon on the salt shed.
Hoar declined further comment.
VOSHA officials did not immediately return a Tuesday phone call seeking comment.
Neagley said construction is continuing on the main public works office and maintenance building, comprising more than 32,000 square feet of space.
The salt shed is a relatively small component of the entire project, he said.
The entire project’s cost is nearly $6 million, with about $4 million of that going to construction and site work.
The new public works complex will largely replace the town’s current town garage on James Brown Drive. That site is roughly 40 years old and will be sold.
Hoar had said during the planning process for the new complex that the town needed a bigger space to store equipment and better organize the department.
At the time of the Aug. 7 accident, the Williston Fire Department responded with Engine 2, Rescue 2 and Car 1. South Burlington Fire and Rescue, Essex Rescue and St. Michael’s Rescue also responded to the incident.