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Home / Business / Hard Rock Hotel collapses in New Orleans: 1 dead, 18 injured

Hard Rock Hotel collapses in New Orleans: 1 dead, 18 injured



NEW ORLEANS –

One person was killed and three others were missing after part of the Hard Rock Hotel collapsed without warning Saturday morning.

At least 18 other people were treated for injuries, authorities said.

19659002] The city leaders closed much of the area and evacuated other buildings near the streets of Canal and North Rampart due to concerns that more of Hard Rock, which was still under construction, could fall.

"It's still very unstable," New Orleans Fire Chief Tim McConnell said of the building.

EVACUATION: Evacuation booked for the area around the Hard Rock Hotel collapse; other streets closed nearby

The collapse happened about 9:12 am

Video from eyewitnesses delivered to WWL TV shows that the upper floors begin to collapse on top of each other before the wall on the North Rampart Street side of the building crashes to the ground below. Workers could be seen in the video that ran in safety on Rampart when the collapse happened.

Two large cranes were used to build the high rise. One swayed precariously after the building collapsed, and bits and pieces of garbage continued to fall to the ground below.

"The crane is still in place, but it is not supported," McConnell said.

Gov. John Bel Edwards was on the scene and said the 270 crane also worried him. "When you see the crane rail away from the building … this is very serious."

The cause of the crash was not immediately known.

RELATED: Viewing video of hotel collapse

RELATED: Video: The construction site of Hard Rock Hotel collapses on Canal Street

Rampart Street was strewn with debris, including concrete and cast steel. A man in a safety vest sat on the curb, looking to hold the side of his head as he waved.

The Hard Rock Hotel was planned as an 18-story building with 350 rooms that would also have 62 residential units. It was originally set to open this spring.

The corner where it was under construction for decades was the home of a Woolworth.

The store, which was the site for lunch counter sit-ins during the civil rights movement, closed many years ago, and the building remained vacant until it was demolished in 2014.

Plans to build a new structure on the site had been in the works since at least 2007, when developer Mohan Kailas bought the building for $ 3.6 million as plans for a new redevelopment project fell through.

This project was halted in 2013 when Praveen Kailas pleaded guilty to fraudulently billing a state Katrina recovery program.

Praveen Kailas, son of Mohan Kailas, had been the public face of the project before pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit theft of state funds and one count of theft of public funds. The theft scheme was postponed by WWL TV in 2012, leading directly to federal criminal investigation.

Praveen Kailas served almost two years in federal prison.

Kailas Cos. Is still a partner in the Hard Rock project. Crews recently started working on the corner.

Earlier iterations of the project raised concerns that the building's modern look would conflict with the French Quarter, while others argued that it would not pay enough respect to the site's ties to the civil rights movement. [19659025] Stay with WWL-TV and WWLTV.com for more on this groundbreaking story

► Get news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News- app now in IOS App Store or Google Play . [19659025]


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