Crews replace tarp concealing worker’s remains at Hard Rock hotel site in New Orleans, find further collapse

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE/Gray News) - The day a red tarp shifted, exposing the remains of one of the Hard Rock workers still inside, people took to social media with pictures.

A new tarp was placed to cover a worker's remains at the Hard Rock hotel collapse site in New Orleans. Authorities plan to recover the remains after the site is imploded in March. (Source: WVUE/Gray News)

The building under construction collapsed Oct. 12, killing three workers. Two bodies are still at the site.

“I would urge anyone who would think that posting anything like this or broadcasting anything without attention to this is to be simply reprehensible lack of respect,” said NOFD Chief Tim McConnell.

City leaders say they immediately spoke with family members, promising to replace the tarp. However, McConnell says that proved to be more dangerous and difficult than originally thought as crews found the building collapsed even more in that area.

“What that says to me is the building is moving, and things are shifting in there; they provided me with pictures they said chief you walked in this area you can't do that anymore,” said McConnell.

Fire and search and rescue teams replaced the fallen tarp with a yellow one with reinforced cables out of respect for the family. City leaders say there are plans to put more tarps up there, but homeland security director Collin Arnold says it was not an easy task.

“Today, just to get the tarp even in the immediate area and they had to drop lines from four and five flights above the location, so it's not something you can access, it's difficult to explain how patient they need to be with the twisted metal, and it’s very challenging,” said Arnold.

“Those thermal changes and other just weathering can cause some changes in the structure,” said civil engineer, Dr. Norma Jean Mattei.

Mattei says impromptu missions like that take time. Crews need to perform safety checks on their crew but also the object or the building, which includes gathering as much new information they can about an ever-changing partially collapsed building.

“It’s not the initial lower floors, it's higher so you got to be careful in accessing that area where most of these changes will be initial damage and changes are occurring before you send anyone up,” said Mattei.

As the Hard Rock is scheduled for an implosion demolition in March, the remains will be recovered after the implosion. But with no way to promise the tarp will stay put, McConnell hopes residents choose respect instead.

“Human dignity for people and I’m just once again urging people to please resist that temptation there are people that are suffering,” said McConnell.

City leaders said they were successful in getting Facebook and Twitter to bring some of those images down.

So far, evidence of the further collapse will not delay plans to implode the building in March.

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