Hard Rock Hotel will not be demolished until December 2020, more than a year after deadly collapse
The bodies of two of the victims are still trapped inside the building.
January 4, 2020, 8:26 PM
5 min read
The Hard Rock Hotel in downtown New Orleans will not be brought down until December 2020, officials said Friday, more than a year after it collapsed on Oct. 12, 2019.
The date of the demolition has long been up in the air, with it previously scheduled for February.
The city’s Fire Department Chief Tim McConnell warned that the building is still “very dangerous,” and the takedown needs to be methodical.
While he said that he and Mayor LaToya Cantrell were “very unhappy with that timeline,” it is up to the project developers, 1031 Canal Development LLC, “to mitigate this disaster.”
Three people were killed in the collapse and dozens more were injured. The bodies of two of the victims, 36-year-old Quinnyon Wimberly and 63-year-old Jose Ponce Arreola, remain inside the building. The other victim, Anthony Magrette, was removed.
The cause of the collapse is still unknown.
Authorities said that safely removing Wimberly and Arreola’s remains is one of their top priorities, but it will most likely have to be done after the demolition.
The building will need to be stabilized before that’s demolition, which McConnell said will take place on May 7.
Frank Wimberly, the brother of Quinnyon Wimberly, said in a previous interview with ABC News that all of the changes for the demolition have forced them to relive their loved one’s death all over again.
“It’s a wound that won’t heal,” he said in December after the family learned that the building would be demolished with the bodies inside. Crews had initially hoped they would be able to recover the bodies before.
The family of Arreola “is anxious to give Jose a proper burial and lay his body to rest,” according to a statement from the lawyer of Arreola’s brother that was obtained by The Times-Picayune.
“The prolonged recovery of the body has caused immense pain and suffering to the Ponce family,” the statement read, according to the newspaper.
The injured victims, who were all construction workers, have filed a lawsuit against the developers alleging negligence.
1031 Canal Development LLC did not immediately respond to ABC News for comment.
A little more than a week after the collapse, a controlled demolition to bring down the two cranes that still stood was executed. Only one crane was successfully brought down.