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Local union demands independent investigation into Gaylord Rockies HVAC collapse

A day after the collapse, Gaylord released a statement that said they would conduct their own investigation, but the union worries it won't be transparent enough.

AURORA, Colo. — A local union for sheet metal workers is asking for an independent investigation into the HVAC collapse at the Gaylord Rockies resort earlier this month. The incident happened in the hotel's indoor pool area and six people were hurt, two of those injured suffered life-threatening injuries. 

"One word to describe it would be frightening," Jon Alvino, business manager for the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #9, said. 

Many of the people he represents work in the HVAC world everyday and are struggling to understand how the incident occurred. 

"If there was a deficiency in either the design, engineering, installation of any of this, I think it's important to know that because we would want to make sure both from a public safety perspective that these things don't happen again," Alvino said. "But also from an industry perspective, if it's a deficiency that overall needs to be fixed, we would want to know about that." 

Alvino, along with the rest of the union, sent a letter to Aurora city leaders calling for an independent investigation into the collapse. 

A day after the collapse, Gaylord released a statement that said they will conduct their own investigation, but the union worries it won't be transparent enough.

"They're going to be under their hire so our concern is, how do we know we're getting all the information to the actual root cause of this accident?" Alvino asked. "That's what we want here, accountability. I think that's in the best interest of the public." 

A 2019 announcement on RK Mechanical's company website said they were the mechanical sub-contractor for the build, and that their work included installing 75 miles of plumbing pipes and 4,000 tons of air conditioning.

In a statement to 9NEWS Monday, RK Mechanical said:

"RK Mechanical was one of the contractors that installed mechanical equipment at the Gaylord Rockies Resort during its construction roughly five years ago. We are and will continue to cooperate with local authorities, the Gaylord and other contractors to determine the cause of this accident. In the meantime, our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this unfortunate event, and we are here to help in any way we can." 

RK Mechanical is not part of the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #9 

9NEWS reached out to the Gaylord Rockies, as well as their parent company Marriott, for comment regarding the union's demand but they have yet to reply.

In response to the union's letter, a spokesperson with the City of Aurora said, "The Mayor nor the city would have a comment because the city does not have the authority that the letter asserts. It is solely the property owner’s responsibility to conduct a thorough investigation involving professional engineers and other experts to understand what happened on May 6. As we have said several times since the incident occurred, once the investigation has completed and Gaylord management determines the next steps, they will be required to apply for city permits and submit detailed plans developed and signed by licensed professionals to complete any new work or necessary repairs. The city’s Building Division will review and issue the appropriate permits and conduct follow-up inspections to ensure the work meets all International Building Code requirements." 


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