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Contractors grateful that workers avoided the west Billings building collapse



Billings, Montana – The builders on the fallen west-end commercial building claim they might never know what happened.

The structure on Shiloh Road and Avenue C collapsed on Monday afternoon, as was first reported earlier this week.

There were enough warning signs to allow everyone to exit safely.

As soon as the materials are delivered, they will be prepared to start work after cleaning up the location.

“About 4 o’clock-ish, they heard some noises, some concerning noises,” said Preston Lees, Beartooth Holding & Construction vice-president. “By 4:30, they’d started to visibly see some stuff that caused some concern. And then the lead framer, Jamie, called it all clear and they got out of the building. It wasn’t too much longer after that and the building collapsed.”

The general contractor is the business of Lees.

He claims that this is the first time a structure has collapsed while he was working on it.

There is no justification for the building split of the city of Billings.

Lees has watched the slow-motion video from the City Brew surveillance system, but there is still no clear cause.

“It looks like kind of was weak in one spot slowly started to tip,” Lees said. “But they were all tied together, all the bracing kept them together so they really visibly looks like they came down almost at the same time.”

“Watching the footage, I’m confident that we’ve we did everything right and this was a this was a freak deal,” Lees said.

Premier Builders, the business in charge of the frame, is owned and operated by Travis Nelson.

Four other buildings on the land have been constructed by his workers using the same design.

“Engineer said things looked good,” said Nelson. “OSHA said we did things right. You can’t ask for a lot more than that. But you can ask to not have a collapse. You know, that’s a It’s a tough deal.”

While some of what has been built can still be put to use, most of it will end up in the landfill because it can be risky to dig through to uncover useful parts.

They further claim that because the truss assembly was complete and everyone was on the ground and able to move out of the way, the timing of the collapse was lucky.

“What we’re really grateful for is that the framing crews did the right thing,” Lees said. “They got out of the building and everybody’s safe as a result of that decision.”

“We’ll kind of keep searching for those answers a little bit,” Nelson said. “But at the end of the day, I’m really proud of my guys. They did everything right. They did a good job. And they made the right decisions and everybody was safe.”

Construction might pick back up as soon as next week.

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