Sports Outside the Beltway

Dolphins Stadium inspections ordered after concrete falls

If the 2006 Miami Dolphins aren’t bad enough, now their stadium has problems also.

Miami-Dade County and the Miami Dolphins ordered separate inspections of the structural integrity of Dolphins Stadium Monday, a day after a woman attending a Florida Marlins game was slightly injured by a small piece of concrete. The incident comes at a critical time for Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, whose stadium hosts college football’s annual Orange Bowl game Jan. 2 and will be the site of Super Bowl XLI on Feb. 4.

The woman, whose name was not made public Monday, was watching the Marlins play the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday when the small ”three or four inch” piece of concrete hit her, according to George Torres, director of corporate communications for Dolphin Enterprises.

Paramedics treated her after the concrete hit her in the head, even as she continued to keep score of the game, an eventual 3-2 Marlins victory.

Torres said that a man seated nearby received a few scrapes from a similar-sized piece of falling concrete. The pieces fell from a ceiling about 20 feet above the club-level seats on the 20-year-old stadium’s south side.

Everyone in section 242 was removed, and some spent the rest of the game in an executive suite.

Torres speculated wet, rusted rebar in the ceiling had expanded and dislodged the concrete surrounding it.

The Dolphins organization left a message for the woman late Monday afternoon, according to Torres and Bruce Schulze, president of Dolphins Stadium.

County Building Department spokeswoman Marisol Triana said her department learned of the incident after officials read about it in the Herald Monday morning.

Triana said the department would send an inspector later in the week.

Make sure it isn’t an inspector taking bribes. There have been several Miami-Dade scandals just in the last few months involving that or kickbacks. South Florida doesn’t need a Sampoong Department Store or Hyatt Regency like disaster. Public safety should come before the commercial concerns of a NFL football team. The Dolphins aren’t playing at home for two weeks, so there is time to do the inspection(s) right.

Rick at SOTP thinks this news couldn’t be a better metaphor for the 2006 Miami Dolphin season.

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