Slideshow of a doomed mall. Click on the right of the image to take you to the next slide:
Michael Friscolanti spent months chronicling the events that contibuted to the tragedy at the Algo Centre. His findings appear in our new ebook: Doomed: The Untold Story Behind the Collapse of the Elliot Lake Mall, which is available here.
Here’s Friscolanti’s latest report on the inquiry:
Dmitri Yakimov could sense something wasn’t right. He could hear it. He could feel it. He just couldn’t quite see it.
A Ukrainian immigrant with 20 years in the construction industry, Yakimov had been tasked, like so many before, with trying to stop the incessant leaks eating away at the only shopping mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. In the summer of 2009, three years before the Algo Centre collapsed, Yakimov walked up to the rooftop parking lot to take a closer look at three decades’ worth of water damage. As he stood outside, directly above the ill-fated lottery kiosk, a car drove by—triggering, in his words, “a flex in the concrete surface.”
Alarmed, Yakimov pointed his flashlight at one particular horizontal beam supporting the parking deck. As he later told police, the steel was obviously rusted and worn, but he couldn’t inspect the entire beam because part of it, including its welded connection to a vertical column, was covered in drywall. “What concerned him more was what he could not see, in particular the welds on the beam at the joint,” reads a synopsis of Yakimov’s police interview, filed along with hundreds of other exhibits at an ongoing public inquiry. “Yakimov didn’t know why this section of the parking lot was flexing but believed there [were] issues with the beam, or the welds may have failed at the joint.”