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Lawsuit filed in hangar collapse incident near Boise airport

Julie Luchetta
Boise State Public Radio

A lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court related to the hangar collapse near the Boise Airport in January.

Three people were killed and nine others were injured after the privately-owned hangar collapsed. The cause of the collapse is still not known.

Enrique Serna is the attorney representing the families of two of the deceased, Mariano Coc Och and Mario Sontay Tsi, both Guatemalan citizens.

Big D Builders, the construction company that was in charge of the hangar, hired Defendant Steel Building Systems to draw and engineer the hangar, according to a filing provided to Boise State Public Radio via email. That company used Walker Structural Engineering to draft the hangar blueprints, which were submitted in 2023 and approved by the City of Boise.

Serna wrote in the filing a second set of blueprints were never fully submitted to the City of Boise and did not have an “engineer stamp” of approval. The filing states there was a reduction in bracing and structural support in the amended plans.

“In essence, the SBS Install Set modified all the bracing and bracing lines; calling for 25% to 30% less bracing requirements than the approved hangar plans,” wrote Serna.

"You have a lot of people saying that the day before the collapse, cables were popping, braces were popping, pieces were not conforming," Serna said in a press conference on Wednesday.

The final Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) report of the incident has not yet been released. OSHA citations for violations have to be issued within six months of an event.

David Kearns, the Director of the local OSHA office, said in February he expected they would need most of that six months to prepare the citation for any violations, if necessary.

The construction company, Big D Builders out of Meridian, was fined in 2022 and 2023 for OSHA violations over employee fall risk. They also had previous violations for ladder use.

A person who answered the phone at Big D Builders said the company had no comment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction sites, and those involving steel framing in particular, are some of the most dangerous workplaces in the U.S.

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