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‘Insufficient support’ blamed for courthouse floor collapse


A federal agency said construction crews placed “insufficient support” under part of an upper floor that collapsed during renovations to the historic federal courthouse in Savannah, Georgia.

SAVANNAH, Georgia — Construction crews had placed “insufficient support” under part of an upper floor that collapsed during renovations to the 124-year-old federal courthouse in Savannah, according to the government agency overseeing the project.

Three construction workers were injured on April 11 when a section of the third floor of the courthouse caved in, knocking them to the floor below.

The General Services Administration said in a statement Tuesday that the $75 million renovation project remains on hold as crews clear debris and stabilize the area where the collapse occurred.

“The GSA’s initial assessments indicate that the immediate failure was due to insufficient support under the third floor of a section of the building, and not the result of systemic structural issues,” the agency’s statement read. “A full investigation of the building is still ongoing.”

The Tomochichi Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse opened in 1899 on Wright Square in the heart of Savannah’s downtown historic district. Construction work inside the building has been underway for over a year and is expected to be completed in 2024.

No courthouse staff were inside when the collapse occurred.

brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor hired to upgrade the courthouse, said in a statement that the three injured workers “are doing well and are expected to make a full recovery.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.