D.C. Fines 2 Firms $500 Each for Watergate Garage Collapse

The partial collapse May 1 of the Watergate parking garage was caused by human error, according to D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. It determined that workers had put too dirt on top of the three-story structure and that the added weight caused the the collapse. It then issued notices of infraction to the Grunley Construction Company, which is working on the $125-million renovation of the Watergate Hotel, next to the garage, and to the Chapel Valley Landscape Company. The two fines — “for exceeding the allowable loads on top of the structure” — by DCRA are $500 each.

The collapse hurt two persons, prompted the evacuation of the office and other buildings and a massive D.C. Fire Department response along Virginia Avenue NW. It destroyed or damaged about 30 vehicles parked in the garage. Broken water pipes flooded businesses.

Grunley Construction and Developer EuroCapital Properties for the hotel responded to press inquiries by saying their investigations are still undoing.

Closed since 2007, the Watergate Hotel is slated for a fall 2015 reopening.

The Watergate complex, known for the 1972 burglary that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon, lies along the banks of the Potomac River next to another Washington landmark, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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