Clean up of scattered glass downtown could take days
Glass that rained down from the Devon Tower on Wednesday can still be seen around sidewalks and streets cordoned off in downtown Oklahoma City and the cleanup effort could take days.
Currently, several streets surrounding the Devon Tower remain closed. City officials said it’s necessary as more glass could fall while Devon Energy Corp. crews work to secure parts of the building damaged during an equipment malfunction that left two workers trapped in a basket for nearly 45 minutes Wednesday.
Also closed are the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Jim Vidmar, spokesman for the Gardens, said it will remain closed to prevent any staff or visitors from the possibility of getting injured from glass that might fall.
While most of the glass that fell next to the Gardens has been picked up, Vidmar said, officials want to make sure that any remaining glass on the ground won’t injure visitors.
“Before we take down any of the yellow tape and invite visitors back into the Gardens, certainly our staff will do a thorough, thorough search to make sure that there isn’t anything that would cause any harm to folks, whether they’re out playing in Devon Lawn in the grass or places like that,” Vidmar said.
Vidmar said he didn’t know when the Gardens might reopen, but was hopeful it would be by Friday so weekend events could go on as planned.
Martin Herman, director of security for Devon, said crews have been cleaning areas that have been deemed safe following Wednesday’s incident, but other areas will take some time.
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“As you can imagine, (an) 850-foot building with the winds in downtown Oklahoma City, it blows quite a distance,” Herman said. “Some of the other areas that we believe we that we shouldn’t have workers in until we render the rest of … those pieces safe, have not been cleaned up, but they are our first priority once we secure those areas.”
Describing the effort to secure the building as “a little tedious,” Herman said crews are having to figure out a way to fix the damaged building without their “building maintenance unit,” which malfunctioned with the window washers aboard Wednesday morning.
“So, we can’t use that piece of equipment until it gets recertified and fixed and appropriately remediated as well to render some of those areas,” he said.
Street closures from the incident have also halted all streetcars from running through downtown and Bricktown. Small buses are picking up people at streetcar stops not affected by the road closures, said Michael Scroggins, spokesman for EMBARK.
“We definitely feel a dip in ridership but, again, it’s definitely worth making sure everyone’s safe,” Scroggins said.
Devon officials on Thursday said they are working as “quickly and safely” as they can to secure the exterior of the tower but that it is not yet safe to open nearby streets and the Gardens.
“We understand this causes inconvenience and appreciate the continued patience of the downtown Oklahoma City community,” officials said in news release.