Calgary police investigate girl's death by falling debris

Calgary police are investigating the death of a three-year-old girl who was hit by a large piece of building material that fell off a downtown tower that was under construction.

Calgary police are investigating the death of a three-year-old girl who was hit by a large piece of building material that was blown off a downtown tower under construction.

Michelle Krsek was killed instantly when strong winds caused a six-metre-long sheet of metal to fall on her as she was walking with her family shortly before 8 p.m. MT Saturday.

A severe windstorm caused several corrugated metal sheets to dislodge from the 18-storey building on 9th Avenue S.W., falling 30 to 40 metres to the sidewalk.

Calgary police say they are now investigating the death jointly with Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Branch.

"OHS is really, I think, determining whether safety standards were complied with, and the police are investigating whether any laws have been broken or any overt negligence occurred," acting duty Insp. Nina Vaughan said Monday.

The company building the tower, Grenville-Germain Calgary Ltd., has voluntarily stopped work on the site for now.

The company's president, Christiane Germaine, said the firm is shocked by the tragedy.

"We are very saddened by this tragic incident. Our thoughts are continuously going towards the family," she said. "It is an extremely, extremely sad story and we're very sorry that that whole thing happened."

Germain said the company is working with investigators from the police and province.

City officials say the company has complied with building codes. Results from a site inspection conducted Sunday have not been released.

A makeshift memorial was set up at the scene of the incident on Sunday.

Krsek's father and seven-year-old brother remained in hospital Monday with non-life-threatening injuries, but their condition was not known. A woman in the group was not injured.

"I know that there are numerous witnesses that have to be re-interviewed," Vaughan said. "Many were traumatized after, you know, observing such a horrific event.

"The detectives will go back and re-interview some of those people and will likely talk with the builders and the building owners as well."

A trust fund for the family has been set up at the Bank of Montreal under the name Miroslav or Mariana Krsek.