2 hurt when loading dock ceiling at UF collapses

A ladder pokes through a loading dock ceiling that collapsed Tuesday at the Communicore building at the University of Florida.

ALEXANDER COHN/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 at 11:15 p.m.

A loading dock ceiling at a University of Florida building collapsed, injuring two employees working at the site Tuesday morning.

Marty Walker, 36, of Wellborn, and Stephen Thornton, 32, of Glen St. Mary, employees with Alachua Environmental Services in Macclenny, received minor injuries when the stucco ceiling fell, University of Florida Police reported.

The accident occurred about at 10 a.m. at a loading dock at the entrance to the Communicore building's basement, off of Center Drive, said Capt. Jeff Holcomb. The men had been in a crawl space above the ceiling and were doing cleaning work when they heard a cracking noise, he said.

Suddenly, the structure fell out from underneath the men. They fell with it and were stuck in the debris, Holcomb said.

The section of ceiling that collapsed was estimated by officers to be about 100 feet long and 10 feet wide.

At first, officers received reports the men had been trapped under fallen concrete.

But, Holcomb said, "Both of them walked away."

The men had minor scrapes, Holcomb said, and likely were shaken by the fall.

"Physically, they were fine but mentally I think they would want to take a break," he said.

The cause of the collapse was under investigation, he said.

Employees and others gathered along walkways and near yellow police tape as firefighters checked the area for additional workers who might have been injured.

Attempts to reach a company spokesman Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Lise Fisher can be reached at (352) 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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