Numerous injuries after collapse at Horseshoe Casino, no fatalities

CINCINNATI - Several construction workers are being treated for injuries after they were hurt when a deck collapsed at the site of the Horseshoe Casino Friday morning.

Police say construction workers were pouring concrete into a metal frame when the middle of the structure gave way around 8 a.m. at the site of the new casino at the corner of Gilbert Avenue and E. Court Street. Officials say 13 people sustained injuries.

Cincinnati police say 10 people were transported to four area hospitals. The injuries are not life threatening and all workers are accounted for, according to officials. Three people were still hospitalized as of Friday night .

There are no fatalities as a result of the collapse, according to representatives with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which will follow up with the investigation of the accident.

The investigation will begin immediately to determine the cause of the accident, said Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney. Ohio state inspectors are at the scene beginning their investigation.

Officials shut down the intersection of East Gilbert Avenue and Court Street to traffic for several hours.

The Greyhound bus station located at 1005 Gilbert Avenue is set as a staging area for emergency vehicles.

Casino officials were on the scene and getting information from police.

All construction workers were dismissed for the day.

The site has been secured and Rock Gaming LLC, which is developing the casino with Rock Ohio Caesars LLC, is joining the effort to investigate the cause of the accident. Rock Gaming LLC representatives say they will release more information at 11:30 a.m.

The floor of the parking garage collapsed at the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino last month. The Cleveland casino is also being developed by the Rock Gaming and Rock Ohio Caesars. No one was injured in that collapse. For more information about that accident, go to http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/state/cleveland-police-floor-of-new-casino-at-prospect-and-ontario-has-collapsed-wcpo1324073659670 .

Developers have not yet said if the accident will delay the casino's opening set for spring 2013.

The president of the Ohio Valley Associated Builders and Contractors, John Morris, issued a statement about the accident Friday morning and Messer Construction, which is heading the construction of the Horseshoe Casino project.

"Our heartfelt prayers go out to the injured workers and their families. Safety, avoiding injuries and accidents is the number one goal of our member companies; but unfortunately accidents do occasionally occur. We hope that the individuals hurt today rapidly recover and return to work in our industry," Morris said in a release. "Messer Construction is an outstanding construction firm, with a world class record of training and safety for their workers and projects. We are confident that they will quickly identify what occurred here, remedy the situation and continue to build Cincinnati an outstanding casino."

President and CEO of Messer Construction Co. Tom Keckeis says the investigation is ongoing and that the cause of the incident remains undetermined. Keckeis released the following statement Friday afternoon:

First and foremost our thoughts and prayers are with the workers who were involved in the accident earlier today and their families. We are grateful to the first responders and those providing the medical attention they need during this difficult time.

Right now the cause of the incident remains unknown. Investigations by OSHA, structural engineers, our safety team and other officials are ongoing, and together with Rock Ohio Caesars and our construction partners we are cooperating fully.

Our top priority is to ensure everyone at our jobsites can return home safely to their families at the end of each day.  We have stringent safety processes and protocols in place to ensure our jobsites remain safe and our structures secure.

The overall safety record of the company is excellent and Messer ranks well below the national incident rate.  Since 2006 we have participated in more than 70 inspections by OSHA without violation. As it pertains to this jobsite, we've worked approximately 150,000 hours with only one lost time incident relating to a worker who suffered a heat-related illness.

The work taking place today was in accordance with a project schedule that has been in place for several months, and which has had the full support of all contractors involved.

We will share additional information as it becomes available.

We are committed to completing this project safely.

9 News has crews on the scene. Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for updates as they become available.

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