Part of the ceiling collapsed at the Atlanta airport restaurant

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Atlanta airport officials say part of the ceiling of a restaurant inside a terminal has collapsed, leaving a large part tilted at an angle and draped over counters in the hall to eat

ATLANTA -
Part of a restaurant ceiling collapsed inside Atlanta Airport on Thursday, leaving much of it draped over countertops in the dining room. One person was taken to the hospital and a second person was treated at the scene, airport officials said.

The collapse occurred shortly before 8 am Thursday in Hall A, one of the halls closest to the main domestic terminal, the airport said in a statement.

It appears the ceiling has been set incorrectly and plans are underway to review construction methods and design plans at other companies inside the airport, said Tom Nissalke, deputy general manager of the airport. airport for planning and development.

In a briefing for journalists on Thursday, Nissalke described the fallen room as "a floating ceiling. When asked if the ceiling was "loose," Nissalke replied, "That's how it is, yes. "

Because of its weight, the structure must be attached to the rigid roof platform, which is designed to support the weight, he said.

"It was not attached to the roof terrace, based on what we have seen so far," said Nissalke.

He estimated that the piece of ceiling that had fallen weighed between 700 and 800 pounds (318 to 363 kilograms) and crashed while customers were eating breakfast inside the restaurant. It had been like this for about three and a half years, he said.

Airport officials say they will now delve into the design plans to find out what happened.

"We are looking at the drawings that were the authorized drawings, to see exactly what happened and the construction was carried out according to plans," said Nissalke.

The ceiling fell in Cat Cora’s Kitchen, one of the many airports opened by famous chef Cat Cora, from Jackson, Mississippi. In 2015, Cora became the very first Iron Chef woman on the Food Network's “Iron Chef America”.

Cora’s business partner, the dealership that operates the restaurant, said in a statement that it believed the safety of its customers and employees was very important.

"We are currently working with the airport and other partners to fully assess the situation, including potential injuries and / or damage to the facilities," said Regynald Washington, president of the catering division of Paradies Lagardère in Atlanta.

The airport review will extend beyond Cat Cora’s Kitchen, said Nissalke, though he didn’t know Thursday how many businesses it could be. Paradies Lagardère has partnered with Atlanta Airport on many projects and its website lists more than 30 restaurants and shops at the airport.

"We will go ahead and review all the other drawings associated with this dealership just to see if a similar situation exists," said Nissalke. “We are going to review all these other spaces. "

The dealership has restaurants and stores at dozens of US airports, according to its website. It lists more than two dozen shops and restaurants at several major airports, including Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Detroit Metropolitan Airport and John International Airport. F. Kennedy in New York.

In a statement from her publicist, Cora said she had been woken up Thursday morning by a call from her partners at Paradies Lagardère informing her of what had happened.

"We are working closely with our airport team to assess the situation," said Cora.

"Above all, we just want to make sure that everyone involved is good," she said.

One person requested to be transported to the hospital, airport officials said. A second person was treated at the scene and then continued with their travel plans, said Nissalke.

Many companies are involved in the design and construction of restaurants and other establishments inside the airport. Companies known as concessionaires rent space from the city of Atlanta, then usually prepare a design and build the restaurant or store using architects, engineers, and contractors, said Nissalke.

Photos on social media showed workers in orange vests inspecting the scene on one side of the fallen piece of ceiling, while airport travelers stood on the other side.

There has been no impact on operations at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, officials said. The airport is called the busiest in the world, with an average of 275,000 passengers per day.

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