Allentown Co. Connected to Cowboys' Roof Collapse

Company found negligent for another roof collapse in Philly

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Dallas Cowboys football players and team staff run to check for trapped team and staff following the collapse of the team's indoor practice facility during a storm on Saturday, May 2, 2009 in Irving, Texas.

    A local company built the roof that collapsed at the Dallas Cowboys' training facility over the weekend, permanently paralyzing one of the team's staffers and injuring eleven others.

    Executives from Summit Structures flew to the Dallas area and were investigating. They said Monday the roof had been replaced last year. The Cowboys did not have that work checked by city inspectors, once it was finished, according to the Dallas Morning News.

    Summit president Nathan Stobbe sent out the following statement:

    Cowboys' Roof Collapse at Training Facility

    [PHI] Cowboys' Roof Collapse at Training Facility
    The roof collapsed Saturday during severe weather.

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families. This is obviously a very difficult time for each of them and for the Cowboys organization. I have flown to Texas along with other representatives of our company to assist in anyway possible. We will be working with the Cowboy's organization and local professionals and officials to fully assess this severe weather event."

    Proper engineering practices were used when the $4 million facility was built in 2003 and again when the roof was replaced, according to Stobbe. In 2007, a Pennsylvania judge ruled Summit negligent in another collapse. A structure Summit built for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority on the Delaware River collapsed after a snowfall. The judge said when Summit designed the facility, it didn't account for snow buildup. That structure had a double roof construction, which is different from the Dallas Cowboys' structure.

    Government inspectors were also on site Monday, investigating, said Elizabeth Todd, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

    About 70 people, including 27 team players were inside the tentlike practice facility when it collapsed during Saturday's rookie minicamp. Winds were up to 70 miles per hour when it happened. It could have been a microburst, according to the National Weather Service.

    The Dallas Cowboys' special teams coach, Joe DeCamillis, had surgery Monday on his fractured cervical vertebrae.

    The most seriously injured was Rich Behm, the team's 33-year-old scouting assistant. His spine was severed, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Behm, DeCamillis and assistant athletic trainer Greg Gaither, 35, remain hospitalized. Gaither had surgery on his fractured upper and lower right leg and was expected to be released this week.