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Construction Worker Killed in Historic Hotel Demolition

A construction worker died last Wednesday after being severely injured as he was working with a crew to demolish the historic Flagship Hotel in Galveston, Texas.

The Flagship Hotel, located at 2501 Seawall Blvd, was originally built on the pier over the Gulf of Mexico in 1965 following Hurricane Carla. The pier itself, first constructed in 1943, hosted a small amusement park.

In 2005, Landry's Restaurants bought the dilapidated hotel from the city, intending to restore it as part of a plan to return the pier to its 1940's roots. The plan included not only renovation of the historic seven-story hotel, but also to install a double-deck carousel, Ferris wheel and other amusement park attractions.

However, in 2008, Hurricane Ike further battered the rundown hotel so Landry's decided that it no longer made sense to try to restore it. Plans to re-create the amusement park remain, but the decrepit hotel had to be demolished. Demolition crews have been working on the historic hotel for several weeks.

Last Tuesday, around 3:40 pm, it was reported that part of the building collapsed on the north end. According to authorities, the second floor was the demolition target and about 75 percent of it fell down to floor below. As debris rained down, a construction worker was pinned underneath the heavy concrete. It took rescue workers, using the Jaws of Life, over 20 minutes to free the worker.

The injured construction worker was immediately transported to University of Texas's John Sealy Hospital in Galveston. Unfortunately, he was not able to recover from his injuries and died the following day.

The demolition project has been halted pending an investigation into the worker's death.

Source: Abc13.com, "Worker dies after collapse during Flagship hotel demo," 4/27/11.

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