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Story Update: Airport CEO: Contractors had 'serious' concerns before airport sign fell

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Crews prop up the sign that fell at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport Friday, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring other family members. Source: WBRC video Crews prop up the sign that fell at the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport Friday, killing a 10-year-old boy and injuring other family members. Source: WBRC video
Airport Authority CEO Al Denson said he learned this week that contractors had concerns about the flight displays before the deadly accident. Source: WBRC video Airport Authority CEO Al Denson said he learned this week that contractors had concerns about the flight displays before the deadly accident. Source: WBRC video
Birmingham Airport Authority CEO Al Denson addresses the media after the board's two hour long executive session. Source: WBRC video Birmingham Airport Authority CEO Al Denson addresses the media after the board's two hour long executive session. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

STORY UPDATE: Members of the project team involved with the renovations at Shuttlesworth Birmingham International Airport responded Thursday night to statements by the head of the Birmingham Airport Authority regarding the accident that killed a 10 year old boy.

This is the full statement from Brasfield & Gorrie/BLOC:

"The Birmingham Airport Authority has released an additional statement regarding the tragic airport incident on March 22 when a flight information cabinet fell over in the newly renovated terminal.

According to their statement, members of the project team had concerns about the stability of the cabinets, and they discussed those concerns to arrive at an appropriate solution. We have concluded that the cabinet that fell was put in place in early January 2013 and it was designed by and installed to be freestanding. Brasfield & Gorrie/BLOC Global Services Group is looking into all the information we have and our team members have that can help determine why the cabinet fell over. The remaining freestanding cabinets similar to the one that fell have been removed. Modifications recommended by the design team at KPS Group to other cabinets have been completed.

We are confident that the airport is safe for travelers and airport workers. The tragedy that occurred on March 22 must not be repeated. We all must ensure that every step in every project is fully reviewed and completed, and that transparent inspection processes take place."

 Original Story:

The head of the Birmingham Airport Authority released a bold statement Thursday, saying there were concerns about the flight information displays at the airport before one fell and killed a 10-year-old boy.

Al Denson, CEO of the Airport Authority, said he learned on Tuesday, April 2 that some contractors and others on the construction team had "serious concerns" about the 300 pound monitor that toppled on a Kansas family, killing Luke Bresette.

Denson's announcement is a major shift in the airport's public statements. Thursday afternoon was the first time the Airport Authority admitted there were concerns about the safety of the displays prior to the deadly accident on March 22.

The Airport Authority met behind closed doors for more than two hours Thursday before Airport CEO Al Denson emerged and revealed that he had decided on Tuesday to have two more of the flight displays removed from the airport until a structural engineer can review safety measures associated with them.

Denson also said that he only learned Tuesday that some contractors had concerns about the safety of those Multi User Flight Information Displays, or "MUFIDSs" for short, before one fell over and killed Luke Bresette. Two of the boy's brothers and their mother were also hospitalized for their injuries in the accident.

"We do not have a full understanding of what was done or considered to address these concerns. I have inquired as to whether anyone associated with the Birmingham Airport Authority had knowledge about these safety issues. Based upon the information that I have to date, no one affiliated with the Authority was aware of these concerns before the accident," Denson said.

When asked "Why wouldn't the contractors have told you or somebody else that they had a real problem with this?" Denson responded, "We're not entertaining questions at this point in time. The investigation is ongoing."

Denson said the contractors on this project including Brasfield & Gorrie, Bloc Global Joint Venture, KPS Group, fish construction, and monumental contracting should" address this finding promptly."

KPS Group responded saying they want all of the questions about this accident answered so nothing like it ever happens again, but couldn't confirm or deny whether any of their employees were the ones who had concerns about the flight displays ahead of the accident.

Fox6 News has reached out to all of the other firms as well but were either unable to reach them or were referred to their lawyers.

Denson also said today that some members of the Airport Authority will attend Luke Bresette's funeral in Kansas City, Mo. this weekend.

The Birmingham Airport Authority released this statement following Denson's remarks to media:

Airport Authority President and CEO makes statement regarding Airport accident investigation

BIRMINGHAM, AL – The Birmingham Airport Authority today announced additional steps to ensure the safety of travelers and visitors at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport following the tragic accident on March 22.

Airport Authority President and CEO Al Denson announced that all Multi User Flight Information Display Systems (MUFIDS) have been removed from the facility, and an independent structural engineer has been employed to advise the Authority on all aspects of safety related to the MUFIDS.

"Our goal is to ensure the safety of each traveler and visitor at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport," Denson said. "This matter still is under investigation, but it was imperative that we take immediate steps as soon as we learned of additional, pertinent information."

Following a meeting of the Airport Authority earlier today, Denson announced that two remaining MUFIDS were removed Tuesday night. Initially, the units had been secured with temporary supports following the March 22nd accident. Denson said he called for their removal after learning on Tuesday morning that certain contractors and others on the construction team had serious concerns over the safety of the MUFIDS and the risks associated with them before the accident.

Denson said he has inquired as to whether anyone associated with the Birmingham Airport Authority had knowledge about these safety issues before the accident. "Based on the information I have to date, no one affiliated with the Airport Authority was aware of these concerns before the March 22nd accident," Denson said.

The investigation into the accident that claimed the life of 10-year-old Luke Bresette and injured three of his family members continues, Denson said.

"The investigation is ongoing at this time," he said. "We are committed to making sure this never happens again."

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