NIH Parking Garage Collapses in Maryland, Kills One

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) -- A six-story parking garage under construction at the National Institutes of Health partially collapsed Monday, killing a construction worker, authorities said.

Dogs and cranes had to be used to search for the victim, who was found on the fourth floor, said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Part of the top two floors of the six-story garage collapsed about 9 a.m. The cause remained under investigation, but NIH officials said they believe a beam slipped and hit one of the floors, causing it to collapse onto the level below.

During the search, authorities evacuated some nearby areas because of concern about the stability of the rest of the garage.

A dozen or more workers were trapped by the collapse, according to Piringer, and had to either be escorted out by firefighters or plucked to safety by a fire department cherry picker.

``I heard a real loud noise,'' said Justin Morales, an electrician who was working on the second floor at the time of the collapse. He said everyone around him got out quickly.

The campus of the federal agency covers more than 300 acres on the outskirts of Washington.

Construction on the garage began in September 2003. It was due to be finished in March.

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