1 Killed, 3 Injured When in Argyle High School Construction Collapse: Officials

Cause of collapse under investigation

One person is dead and three others are recovering from injuries after the metal frame of an athletic practice facility under construction at a North Texas high school collapsed Thursday.[[298451761,C]]

Argyle Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Telena Wright confirmed one construction worker, who has been identified as 36-year-old Julio Ledesma, was killed and three others were injured when the large, metal frame tumbled to the ground at about 7:30 a.m. outside of Argyle High School.

"This is a terrible, terrible tragedy," Wright said. "My thoughts go out to the family of the deceased. I am so very sorry."

[[298535591, C]]

The owner of project subcontractor Warnick Metal Building said Ledesma was a single father of three young daughters, ages 16, 12 and 10. Families in the Argyle ISD have set up a GoFundMe account for Ledesma's family. CLICK HERE to donate.

Two of the three injured workers were transported to Denton Regional Medical Center, hospital officials said, and the third was treated at the scene. All three of the workers were home by Thursday afternoon. [[298482281,C]]

A worker calls 911 to report one person dead and others injured when a building under construction collapsed at Argyle High School Thursday morning.

The building was part of a $45 million bond package to improve the Argyle High School's athletic facilities. Construction on the $3.7 million building was being done by Northstar Builders Group and had been underway for about three months.

NBC 5 has found no outstanding safety violations for the builder. [[298462481,C]]

Flags at the high school were lowered to half-staff and flowers were placed onto the fence of the construction site.

Students said efforts had also begun inside the school to do something for the victim’s family, whether a card, gift basket or monetary fund. They just want to let the family know they are in their thoughts and prayers at the school.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the company, the district and law enforcement are investigating the cause of the collapse. [[298451631,C]]


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Norbert Delatte, a North Texas structural engineer, investigates building collapses.

“A gust of wind that the completed building could handle just fine could knock down a partial building because all the bracing hasn’t been installed yet,” Delatte said.

He said a collapse during construction does not imply that a finished building would have been unsafe.

"What it means is that something went wrong during the construction process,” Delatte said.

Argyle High School Students Shaken by Construction Tragedy

Student journalists at Argyle's newspaper, “The Talon,” found themselves thrown into the world of breaking news Thursday morning as tragedy hit right outside their doors.

Annabel Thorpe, a sophomore who serves as managing editor for the student publication, was inside the school as the commotion began.

“I was walking through the hallway and I just see a group of people down at the end of the hallway, and I was kind of thinking, hmm, that’s not normal,” she said.

Student journalists at Argyle High School covered the story of a deadly structure collapse on campus Thursday.

Thorpe grabbed her camera gear and went outside to discover the collapse.

“Everything is just completely demolished, flat,” said Thorpe. “It was super shocking. You walk out, you’re not expecting to see [this], because this structure was huge.”

Thorpe tweeted out the first picture of the wreckage online as fellow staff member senior Matt Davenport and others from the paper started getting out what little information was available.

“We got the tweet up. Annabel was running over to get the pictures, and we got all organized,” said Davenport.

As more information about the collapse came out, students said the mood inside the school became very somber for many.

“A lot of people just affected, the first period just like very emotional as the news came out of who was injured and all this other stuff,” said Davenport. “We really need to focus on the people that were affected, you know, the construction workers.”

NBC 5's Jeff Smith, Josh Ault, Kevin Cokely, Frank Heinz, Todd L. Davis and Holley Ford contributed to this report.

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