Unlicensed workers injured when house collapses

 

A house on 10th Avenue North collapsed Friday morning. Two workers in the house when it collapsed are being treated for non life-threatening injuries at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle.

A house on 10th Avenue North collapsed Friday morning. Two workers in the house when it collapsed are being treated for non life-threatening injuries at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle. Photo by: Amanda Lien/Dispatch Staff

 

Dispatch Staff Report

 

The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.

 

Two people were taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle after a house they were working on collapsed Friday morning.  

 

Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said a crew of about four people were working on the 10th Avenue house using "a hammer and crowbar" when the building collapsed. The two victims taken to the hospital did not appear to have life-threatening injuries, Shelton said.  

 

Shelton said the house had been damaged in a Feb. 23 EF-3 tornado that touched down in north Columbus, causing severe damage to several structures in the area. Representatives from the Lowndes County Tax Assessor's Office did not return calls from The Dispatch to identify the property owner by press time, but authorities said the home was vacant at the time of the collapse. 

 

City Public Information Officer Joe Dillon said the workers were attempting to demolish a wall inside the house when the house collapsed.  

 

One worker crawled out of the house uninjured, Dillon said. An ambulance took another to the hospital, while a third later went to the hospital by private vehicle.  

 

Shelton said the crew of workers were not from a licensed construction company, but none of the workers are facing charges from CPD. 

 

Shelton also asked property owners needing repairs done to their homes to be mindful to hire contractors with a professional company.  

 

According to Mississippi State Board of Contractors Executive Director Stephanie Lee, the board requires contractors who work on a residential building worth more than $10,000 have a state license and general liability insurance. She added violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to 60 days in the county jail and a $100 to $5,000 fine. Homeowners who hire unlicensed workers may be liable for the project, the people working on the project, taxes and workers compensation. 

 

"We always encourage homeowners to vet their contractors, ask for references and actually contact those references," Lee said. "With all the liability there is to homeowners, we don't want anyone to be taken advantage of." 

 

Dispatch New Editor Isabelle Altman and Dispatch reporter Amanda Lien contributed to this report.

 

 

 

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