Munilla Construction Management (MCM), the Miami-based construction management firm responsible for the newly installed FIU pedestrian bridge, had its website go down on Thursday.
Once the website was back up, it was found that it featured a news release touting the project, in partnership with FIGG Bridge Engineers, “a nationally acclaimed, award-winning firm based out of Tallahassee.”
The release said FIGG had designed “iconic bridges all over the country, including Boston’s famous Leonard P. Zakim Bridge and Florida’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge.”
FIGG said in a statement it was “stunned by today’s tragic collapse.”
“In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before,” the statement continued. “Our entire team mourns the loss of life and injuries associated with this devastating tragedy, and our prayers go out to all involved.”
MCM released an updated statement in regards to the tragedy on Friday:
The National Transportation Safety Board is commencing an in-depth investigation of yesterday’s FIU pedestrian bridge collapse. MCM is fully cooperating with the NTSB in its effort to determine the cause of this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the families and victims. We have been in business for more than 35 years, and safety has always been our number one priority. We are truly heartbroken.
FIGG was fined in 2012 after a 90-ton section of a bridge it was building in Virginia crashed onto railroad tracks below, causing several minor injuries to workers.
The citation, from the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry, said FIGG did not do the proper inspections of the girder that failed and had not obtained written consent from its manufacturer before modifying it, according to a story in The Virginian-Pilot.
Court documents allegedly show that MCM was accused of substandard work in a lawsuit filed earlier this month, various news outlets reported Friday.
The suit said a worker at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, where the company is working on an expansion, fell and injured himself when a makeshift bridge MCM built collapsed under the worker’s weight.
The suit charged the company with employing “incompetent, inexperienced, unskilled or careless employees” at the job site.
The lawsuit is still pending.
However, MCM disputes this claim. In a statement Friday, the company says:
In regard to the incident at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport that is being reported on, we want to make it clear that there is no bridge, or temporary bridge, at this project. This was simply a trip and fall accident that occurred on the ground floor involving a piece of plywood that was covering a sidewalk under construction. To report that this is in any way similar to the tragic accident involving the FIU pedestrian bridge is simply wrong and irresponsible.