Inspectors examine building after glass falls

Investigators say a pane of glass that crashed onto a downtown street from a building under construction may have been cracked or an object could have flown into it.

CALGARY — Investigators say a pane of glass that crashed onto a downtown street from a building under construction may have been cracked or an object could have flown into it.

Kevin Griffiths, the city’s chief building official, said the glass had been installed near the top of the Sky Tower building, an office and residential development, about two weeks ago.

“The glass itself failed — it shattered,” he said Sunday.

Falling construction material is a heightened concern in the wake of the death of three-year-old Michelle Krsek, who was struck and killed earlier this month by a piece of sheet metal that blew off the 20-storey Le Germain hotel under construction at 9 Ave. and Centre St.

About 1 p.m. on Saturday, the glass from the Sky Tower, which measured about two metres by three metres, shattered and a portion broke off and crashed to the ground, narrowly missing vehicles.

It will take engineers a couple of days to complete the investigation, but they may not be able to determine what caused the glass to shatter, said Griffiths.

“It could be either a crack or it could have been an impact — sometimes these things fail if they get hit,” he said.

“It’s very rare.”

The tragedy which killed Krsek prompted Occupational Health and Safety to launch an audit of 20 high-rise construction sites in Calgary to probe, among other things, if materials were properly secured.

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