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St. Louis alderman’s video of demolition raises safety questions

ST. LOUIS – A demolition video shot by Alderman Brandon Bosley (Ward 3) that he confirmed he posted on his public Facebook page is raising some eyebrows.

On Thursday, the alderman told Fox 2/KPLR 11 he thinks he knows why.

“It looked unsafe,” he said.

A brick wall that used to be part of an abandoned home in the 3800 block of Ashland Avenue was being torn down Thursday morning. The alderman said that it’s part of a citywide effort to clean up such eyesores.

In the video, one person who is wearing a hard hat is seen trying to run away from the falling bricks. Seconds later, three people who appear to be bystanders, climb on top of the pile of bricks, visibly not wearing any safety gear.

“After the bricks fell they should’ve put the hard hats on to come out on the actual work site,” Bosley said.

The city confirmed that proper building permits to demolish the wall were obtained. But city building commissioner Frank Oswald said that the city will be investigating a noticeable violation.

“Clearly there was no water on site which is a violation,” Oswald said. “We require that they have a misting fan on site to reduce the spread of dust.”

The city said that it doesn’t enforce the use of proper safety gear on such sites, especially if it’s a private property.

“Now you are getting into the OSHA requirements,” Oswald said. “And certainly, it doesn’t make good sense to me.”

Fox 2/KPLR 11 reached out to representatives for Occupational Safety and Health Administration both in Chicago and St. Louis. We were told that even though they don’t handle such cases, they will consider looking into it.

We also contacted Z&L Wrecking for a comment regarding the video.

“Demolition is a very exciting type of line of work to visually be seen and we ask people to please give us enough room to complete our jobs,” said administrator and project coordinator Arnice Little. “We are going to take this as a lesson learned and move forward.”

Bosley said that he doesn’t regret posting the video but adds it’s a lesson learned for similar future projects. The alderman added that he has already helped in the demolition effort of over 30 abandoned buildings within his ward. He said that the goal is to take down a total of 65 abandoned properties this year.