After stairway collapse, city considers policy changes

Posted at 8:05 PM, Jul 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-09 20:05:34-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)-- A city inspector visited the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 5th and Canal streets on Monday, following a nasty accident in the hotel's parking deck.

A woman who works at Richmond's Behavioral Health Authority fell from two flights of stairs Friday morning when the stairs collapsed. She landed on the concrete below, about a two-story fall.

The situation has prompted city leaders to ask questions.

City Council Vice President Ellen Robertson said there are lots of buildings and parking garages in the city. “We want them to always be safe...structurally sound...for person's who use those facilities,” Robertson said.

Robertson, whose district includes the Crowne Plaza hotel and a number of other hotels, said she's working with City Administration to come up with a way to strengthen the policy requiring routine maintenance and inspections of buildings not owned by the city.

The cost would be passed on to the business owner.

Robertson said doing this is just the first step. "To be proactive and to not wait for another incident,” said Robertson, “if there's a possibility that some other garages may be in the same shape. “

And gauging from the people we spoke with...they believe it should up to the city to inspect and maintain parking decks.

"These are people's lives that 's in danger because of that. " 

"It could've happened to anybody...they'd be gone just like that.  It's sad,” said Eileen Richardson.

Robertson told CBS 6 that business owners would have to be involved in the process before it’s a done deal.  Right now, there’s no timeline for when it will happen. 

Robertson is in talks with the city administration to determine how a new policy could be implemented.  The CEO of Richmond’s Behavioral Health Authority said the injured woman is doing remarkably well and could be released from the hospital as early as Monday.