Within the next month, the city’s two building inspectors plan to review all the buildings at Saratoga Race Course to make sure there are no structural problems.
After a barn collapsed as workers were hoisting its roof on jacks Thursday morning, the assistant fire chief wants to make sure the buildings are safe before there’s too much hubbub at the Oklahoma Training Track and the race course this summer.
Assistant Chief John Betor said he doesn’t think structural issues were to blame for the collapse, but he wants to be sure.
“My focus is eliminating the structure itself as the proximate cause,” he said.
The fire department normally inspects the barns every two years and more public buildings such as the grandstand every year. Those inspections focus on whether there are enough exits in case of fire and whether fire alarms and sprinkler systems are working properly.
Zeroing in on structural deficiencies isn’t usually part of those inspections unless there’s a glaring problem, Betor said. The new slate of inspections will delve more deeply into the buildings’ stability, which Betor said is also a part of the fire code because it relates to public safety.
On Thursday, one carpenter renovating the barn at Horse Haven near the Oklahoma Training Track broke his arm and was airlifted to Albany Medical Center after the roof fell; five other workers were treated for cuts and scrapes at the scene.
Officials from the New York Racing Association said the roof fell when workers were raising it to its new height to put new walls in place of old ones as part of an ongoing barn renovation plan at the track.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.
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