Pittsburgh Convention Center Slab Crashes

Pittsburgh -- A 20-by-60-foot-long concrete slab yesterday fell 30 feet from the convention center here to the street below just as a tractor-trailer rolled over the slab inside the second-floor loading dock.

No one was injured, according to local news reports, but the truck fell partially through the floor, and a large forklift fell to a walkway.

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center was evacuated for two-and-a-half hours, according to the Sports & Exhibition Authority, the building's public owner.

About 150 people were in the center when the collapse occurred, according to news reports. Workers were moving out the boat show and moving in the Pittsburgh International Auto Show. Scheduled to begin Saturday, the auto show is one of the center's largest shows.

Move-in has been suspended pending an inspection of the building, expected today, but the show is scheduled to proceed as planned, according to a statement by the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association, which owns the show.

The building has suffered construction problems in the past. During construction, engineers found that parts of the foundation had shifted, and a 150-ton steel truss killed a worker when it fell. The center, which contains more than 340,000 square feet of exhibit space, was completed in 2003.

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