Devon officials report significant progress in securing building
A week after a window washing unit malfunctioned and crashed into the top of the Devon Tower, officials on Wednesday touted significant progress in efforts to secure the area.
“Remediation of the largest and most hazardous glass and metal pieces dislodged in the May 15 building maintenance incident at Devon Tower is complete,” officials said in a Wednesday news release. “Robinson Avenue was reopened to all traffic May 21 at 9 p.m.”
Just before 7:45 a.m. on May 15, two workers could be seen trapped in a basket that was swinging violently hundreds of feet from the ground. The two workers were rescued after about 45 minutes, but the unit smashed into the building and sent glass raining down to the streets around the Devon Tower.
“We had a number of windows that were cracked by that initial event, as well as some other debris that was on the outside of the building,” said Devon Energy Corp. President and CEO Dave Hager. “As I stand here today, all of that debris has been recovered from the outside of the building and we have largely completed the process of any windows that were cracked by the incident, have been remediated.”
Hager said they felt confident in opening up Robinson Avenue to all traffic Tuesday night, but Sheridan Avenue and the north side of the Myriad Botanical Gardens remain closed.
Hager estimated that 30 to 40 Devon workers were out Wednesday morning cleaning up glass along Sheridan Avenue and into the Gardens, but didn’t have a timeline for when the area would reopen.
“We’re pretty optimistic that if we get through these storms that are pending today that it’s possible that we can shrink the perimeter back very soon,” Hager said during a Wednesday news conference.
When asked about the cause of the malfunction with the window washing unit, or building maintenance unit, Hager said they are continuing to investigate but did not have a definitive answer as to what happened.
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“We’re still gathering information on that. We have information; we don’t have any conclusions at this point,” he said.
In addition to an internal investigation into the incident by Devon, an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also underway.
In total, 16 “large windows” were removed from the tower after the May 15 incident, but other smaller windows that have been cracked have not been removed and are only accessible from outside of the building.
Hager said the cracked windows that remain do not pose a significant risk.