Gaylord lodge accident: Resort will examine itself after HVAC collapse

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify that RK Mechanical did not design the system, only manufactured and installed it. The company said the information on its website was incorrect.

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – No state investigators will be involved in the investigation into the cause of the ceiling HVAC system collapse in a crowded pool area at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center.

According to Aurora Fire Rescue, six people were injured, two of them critically, when firefighters and paramedics responded to the accident on Saturday morning. But neither Aurora Fire nor any other city agency is responsible for investigating what went wrong on private property.

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In a statement emailed to FOX31, a spokesman for the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center said: “We are devastated by this traumatic incident. On Saturday, our top priority was to support the emergency services and provide help to those directly affected. We are very grateful to the Aurora Fire Department for their prompt intervention. Going forward, our focus is on helping our affected guests and staff, and we are working with the appropriate experts to conduct a thorough investigation.”

The spokesperson didn’t respond to follow-up questions, including who the “appropriate experts” were, but it’s likely Gaylord will have many questions for RK Mechanical.

Gaylord hired a Denver contractor for HVAC work

This is the Denver-based company that, according to its own website, “manufactured and installed the all new mechanical, hydraulic and plumbing systems for this floor plan building.” Our team acted as the sole mechanical subcontractor for the entire project, including the hotel and of the convention center.”

RK Mechanical released a video in December 2017 showcasing its work a year before the 1,500-room hotel and convention space opened to the public.

Before the air conditioner collapsed at the Gaylord Hotel, metal spinning could be heard

The company released a statement to problem solvers on Monday afternoon.

“RK Mechanical was one of the contractors who installed mechanical equipment during construction of the Gaylord Rockies Resort about five years ago,” the statement said. “We continue to work with local authorities, Gaylord and other contractors to determine the cause of this accident. In the meantime, our thoughts are with those affected by this unfortunate event and we are here to help in any way we can.”

Black fluid spurted out of broken lines in the Gaylord accident

The troubleshooters spoke to a mechanical engineer behind the scenes, who said the black liquid pouring out of broken plumbing was likely a build-up of mold and mildew mixed with water.

He surmised that the vents in the plumbing may have been poorly designed and positioned, preventing moisture from the pool area from properly venting out of the plumbing, causing the heavy liquid to accumulate over years, eventually damaging the plumbing point at which they stopped shattered and collapsed.

“Then we heard people screaming for help”: A witness to the collapse of the air conditioner is happy that her family was unharmed

A lawyer who specializes in civil engineering litigation told Problem Solvers investigators will likely focus on how moisture buildup in the pool area may have affected the stability of the plumbing above.

The City of Aurora granted the Gaylord Rockies Resort more than 60,000 inspections before opening the state’s largest hotel and convention center in December 2018.

A city spokesman told FOX31 that once permits are approved, annual inspections are generally no longer required and it is up to the private owner of the Gaylord Rockies Resort to make sure everything is working properly.

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