Hotel Atrium Collapses In Maryland
Brian A Kennedy | October 11, 2007 at 03:59 amby
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A giant glass skylight fell from eight stories up at an Embassy Suites hotel in Cockeysville, Md.-- amazingly, nobody was hurt.
WJZ) COCKEYSVILLE, Md. Investigators are back on the scene one day after the glass skylight breaks loose and falls eight stories into a hotel in Hunt Valley.
The sign still reads "not safe for occupants" Thursday morning.
Mary Bubala reports it happened in Hunt Valley at the Embassy Suites hotel.
It's amazing that no one was hurt. The entire roof of the atrium, which is about half the length of a football field, came crashing down just after lunchtime Wednesday.
Hotel managers and investigators are still trying to piece together what caused it to fall.
"Glass starting to break, people screaming it sounded like the building was collapsing," said many guests.
A crush of confusion and frustration for hundreds of hotel guests, evacuated and forced to find other places to stay, when the entire glass ceiling to the atrium of the Embassy Suites hotel in Hunt Valley came crashing down.
"We had to take everything out and put it in the suitcases," said Esther Marks, hotel guest.
Esther Marks is in town, visiting her son. She is one of many guests allowed back into her room only for a moment, just to grab her bags.
"I don't think we were 15 minutes, we were fast," said Marks.
A view from Sky Eye Chopper 13 shows it best. The two atriums are supposed to be identical, but now the one on the right is missing its glass top. Hotel managers still aren't sure what caused it to collapse and come crashing through eight stories.
"It is now fully covered with shards of glass and aluminum atrium structure. And we are very, very, fortunate that no one was in there at the time," said Lt. John Cromwell, Baltimore County Fire.
Eyewitness News was able to obtain a picture taken by a guest. It showed a full sheet of glass now resting in the lobby of the hotel.
"It could have been a catastrophe," said one guest.
The hotel's general manager said there were no known problems on the roof and no warning signs.
"No, I think that's what surprised us all is that there wasn't, it was business as usual," said Greg Pedersen, hotel general manager.
However, for dozens of tourists, business groups, and wedding guests they were forced to relocate, it was anything but usual.
"It's a great place, but look at, it's unbelievable," said Marks.
All guests are now staying at nearby hotels.
Structural engineers are back on the scene to continue to investigate what needs to be done to make the building structurally sound and reopen the hotel.
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