Birmingham's mayor says there is not enough information in the Birmingham Airport Authority's preliminary investigation of a display monitor that fell and killed a child at the airport last week.
Mayor William Bell said Wednesday it is "unacceptable that we continue to wait for answers" about what went wrong at the airport last Friday.
The Airport Authority gave Mayor Bell their preliminary recommendations to secure the large departure/arrival displays after one fell over, killing a boy and injuring other family members.
Ten-year-old Luke Bresette died of his injuries about an hour after the heavy display, estimated to weigh at least 300 pounds, fell on top of him and his family on Friday, March 22. His mother, Heather Bresette, is in fair condition at UAB Hospital and his other siblings who were also injured have all been released from the hospital.
The Airport Authority asked the KPS Architectural Group for recommendations on how to modify the rest of the large displays, referred to as FIDS Cabinets, in order to "insure the future safety of these units." The Airport Authority gave Birmingham mayor's a copy of those recommendations on Wednesday, March 27.
Mayor William Bell emailed a statement today saying this is the first correspondence he's received from the Airport Authority since he asked for a full report last Saturday.
"This is not enough information and I would hope that the Airport Authority can and will provide a more thorough investigation into what went wrong and how it can be prevented," Mayor Bell said.
"Hundreds travel through the airport daily and it is unacceptable that we continue to wait for answers. I have asked that the Airport Authority provide us with as much information as possible and to do so quickly," Bell added.
The single page of recommendations lists three suggestions for the FIDS cabinets and two suggestions for gate backscreen cabinets, which are also under investigation since they are freestanding and similar to the structure that fell.
The architectural group gave the recommendations to the Airport Authority in a meeting on Monday, March 25, according to a notice from Al Denson, the President and CEO of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
The preliminary recommendations say the FIDS cabinets should be moved "close to the wall immediately behind the unit and affixed to the wall for additional support and bracing."
Those changes will involve "installing blocking in the walls behind the units and a system anchoring them back to the blocking in the wall."
The architecture group also recommended permanently getting rid of a free standing unit at Concourse B since "it is of limited value as a convenience to passengers and there is no wall in the immediate vicinity against which it can be braced."
For the "gate backscreen cabinets" which are similar to the FIDS cabinets, the architecture group recommends developing a system that anchors them to the floor, but would still allow them to be relocated as needed.
Those cabinets are different in that "the airport does not necessarily control their location which differs from airline to airline" so they must be able to change locations, according to the memo signed by Gray Plosser and dated March 25.
The memo says the group's next plans are to "prepare specific design documents for review with the airport, the construction manager and appropriate sub contractors for constructability and any others."
The memo closes by saying, "We expect that this work can be completed by the end of the week and Brasfield & Gorrie released to implement the changes."
Brasfield & Gorrie is the construction company that put the display that fell in the airport. The company released a statement on Saturday, saying they are "diligently working with authorities at Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport to assess the situation that occurred Friday, March 22, in which several people were injured, one fatally, after a flight information sign fell in the newly renovated terminal."
The Birmingham Airport Authority issued a statement in response to Mayor Bell's statement Wednesday afternoon, saying:
"The Airport Authority is still undergoing a full scale investigation, no final conclusion has been reached. We expect it to take some time to accomplish."
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