Facility being built at Rhode Island university collapses

People walk past bent steel at a construction site where an athletic practice facility on the Bryant University campus collapsed Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015, in Smithfield, R.I. Workers were installing steel beams on a new indoor practice facility around 8:15 a.m. when the beams collapsed, university spokeswoman Elizabeth O’Neil said. (AP Photo/Jennifer McDermott)

SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — An athletic building under construction at a private university collapsed Tuesday, injuring six construction workers and leaving crumpled steel strewn across the site.

Workers were installing steel beams on a new indoor practice facility for Bryant University in Smithfield at around 8:15 a.m. when the beams collapsed, university spokeswoman Elizabeth O’Neil said. The six men were alert and conscious, and none of their injuries were determined to be life-threatening, she said.

North Smithfield Fire Chief Robert Seltzer said the men were in various locations — on top of the structure, inside or working in cranes to move steel around — when the steel collapsed.

“Something went wrong, but we don’t know what,” he said.

None of the men became trapped in the steel or had to be extricated, he said. They were all taken to a hospital.

Federal workplace safety regulators were notified, and the collapse was under investigation, he said. O’Neil said all work at the site was paused until the investigation could be completed.

AZ Corp. Construction Management of North Stonington, Connecticut, is managing the construction, O’Neil said. A woman who answered the phone at the company said it was “not aware of any building collapse” and was not taking any calls.

It was not clear how many people were working at the site, but all were accounted for, Seltzer said.

The 78,000-square-foot indoor practice facility is planned to include a 100-yard covered turf field. Ground was broken on the project in May, and it was due to be completed in January or February, O’Neil said. Workers started putting the beams in about 10 days ago, and just part of the structure was up by the time of Tuesday’s collapse, she said.

The university, located 12 miles outside Providence, has about 3,400 students. Classes are scheduled to begin Sept. 8.

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