Woman Injured in Aquarium Building Collapse in Houston, TX
Houston, TX -- September 2, 2022, a woman sustained injuries after an accident where a part of the Downtown Aquarium building collapsed.
Investigators reported that the crash took place at around 8:00 p.m. at the Downtown Aquarium Adventure Exhibit.
Right now, the exact cause of the incident remains unclear. Authorities speculated that waterfall going into a pool near the entrance somehow resulted in a facade breaking loose and hitting the woman.
The woman was taken to a hospital with unspecified injuries. Right now, additional details are unavailable.
Commentary on Downtown Aquarium Structure Collapse Accident in Houston
I certainly don't have the expertise myself to know what happened here without seeing more information. That's why I would definitely take steps to ensure the right professionals were looking into this. But what I can possibly address are concerns folks often voice to me after incidents similar to this one. Essentially, people see an incident happen on a business's property, and they automatically assume the business is liable. Well, are they?
The short answer is no--not automatically, anyway. Property owners generally owe a duty to their visitors to seek out and remedy or prevent hazardous conditions. Short of that, it's their duty to make explicitly clear what and where those hazards are so a reasonably prudent person can avoid the hazard. If this was some unforeseeable freak accident no business owner could have foreseen, it would be ridiculous to hold them accountable for a resulting accident.
However, investigations could show there were known issues with the fixture, that inspectors pointed out problems before, that they used the fixture in a negligent way, or that they made mistakes when installing or building it to begin with, then perhaps they could have taken steps to avoid all of this.
Like I said, I certainly don't know one way or the other if or how this all could have been avoided. I simply know the importance of making sure the right people with the right experience and tools are getting those answers.