Construction accident damages IBM building no one injured

April 12, 1991

A 3-ton steel beam slipped from a construction crane and crashed through the roof of the IBM building at the Inner Harbor yesterday, but none of the people working in the top floor offices of the building was injured.

The incident occurred about 10 a.m., when a 30-foot long, 6,000-pound beam that was being used in construction of the IBM tower next to the 10-story IBM building in the 100 block of East Pratt Street slipped from the crane lifting it.

According to Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Department of Housing and Community Development, city inspectors reported that the beam fell about 20 feet, went through the 6-foot thick concrete roof of the building and came to rest on the 10th floor, where T. Rowe Price, the Baltimore mutual fund company, has offices.

Mr. Toohey said inspectors temporarily evacuated employees from the 10th floor and had electricity and water turned off until it was determined that it was safe for the employees to return. A spokeswoman for T. Rowe Price said employees returned to work on the floor later yesterday.

City inspectors also ordered that the construction firm building the tower, Whiting-Turner, change the collars on its cranes to make sure no other beams are dropped, Mr. Toohey said. The beam that was dropped through the roof was removed, he said. The T. Rowe Price spokeswoman said Whiting-Turner had asked officials of the giant mutual fund firm not to talk about the incident and to refer all calls to Whiting-Turner. Calls to Whiting-Turner were directed to the firm's head, Willard Hackerman, who did not return phone calls requesting comment.

T. Rowe Price occupies the second and the seventh through 10th floors of the building.

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