Hangar collapse caused $4 million in damages, suit says

Steve Gonzalez Jun. 4, 2008, 5:42pm

Premier Air Center of East Alton filed suit against Wood River-based Helmkamp Construction in Madison County Circuit Court May 30, alleging a hangar collapsed causing substantial damage and loss to the building and business.

Represented by Robert Cockerham of Brown & James in St. Louis, Premier Air alleges "Hangar 61" collapsed on July 19, 2006, causing in excess of $4,467,661 in damage and loss.

According to Premier Air, Helmkamp was responsible for the installation and construction of Hangar 61 and had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the building's installation and construction.

Premier Air claims Helmkamp knew or should have known that any subsequent owner or operator of Hangar 61 would be damaged and injured if it acted negligently while constructing the hangar.

Premier Air alleges that during the construction and installation Helmkamp was negligent, careless and at fault in the following ways:

  • Installing two 18-inch anchor bolts, which were used to secure the support columns to the concrete foundation, in the incorrect place;

  • Failing to remedy that action by repouring the concrete foundation with the two 18-inch anchor bolts in the correct place, according to the building's specifications;

  • Instead, drilling one expansion bolt into the concrete foundation to secure the support column;

  • Using an inadequate six-inch expansion bolt to secure the support column; and

  • Failing to seek approval to use the inadequate six-inch expansion bolt.

    Premier Air claims that in an attempt to affirmatively conceal evidence of its carelessness, Helmkamp:

  • Cut and/or burned off the exposed sections of the 18-inch anchor bolts;

  • Disposed of the cut and/or burned off sections of the two 18-inch anchor bolts to prevent their discovery;

  • Drilled the six-inch expansion bolts into the concrete where it would be impossible to observe its inadequacy; and

  • Covered faults in construction with the support column, the base of the metal wall panel, and the insulation for the wall, where the faults in construction would not be readily observable.

    Premier Air claims Helmkamp's acts of concealment prevented it from discovering Hangar 61's structural flaws.

    "The acts of concealment were intentional," the complaint states.

    The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Daniel Stack.

    08 L 467

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