AUSTIN (KXAN) - Police roped off the scene outside the W Hotel on Lavaca Street in Downtown Austin where witnesses said three panes of glass fell from the hotel structure to the street below on Monday afternoon.
The hotel is at 200 Lavaca Street. W Hotel officials released a statement about the incident late in the day.
According to reports, glass rained down on the Third Street side and shattered. Announcements were made inside the hotel for patrons to not exit the balcony shortly after it happened.
No injuries were reported , but several cars parked on the street were damaged.
Third Street was closed for a couple of hours, between Colorado Street and Guadalupe Avenue.
"I thought it was a big piece of hail at first," said Brian Brown. He was in his Jeep when the glass fell. "It shook my car pretty hard," he said.
The glass barely missed hitting one postal worker on the street below. It also nearly hit J.C. Chavret and his wife, who were walking back from lunch.
"We looked up and we saw glass falling down and I just grabbed her hand and ran inside through the employee entrance that I knew was there," said Chavret.
Charvet is a contract employee at the W and had just been talking about the falling glass that happened on June 10 -- when it happened again.
"As we ran in the glass was just hitting us. We physically did not get injured but it was emotionally disturbing because of the fact that we had just been talking about it," said Charvet.
John Zamarripa said he was one of several people injured at the W's pool area when glass fell earlier this month.
"I was the only one who saw it and warned about 40 people to take cover, get underwater or whatever," he said.
Zamarripa said he emailed the hotel, the builder and the city but got no response. Now that it's happened again--he hopes the glass gets secured.
"I just want it to get taken care of. Get some answers for once," said Zamarripa.
Chavret said working inside the hotel first-hand, he knows they're doing everything they can to prevent the problem.
"They are on top of it. They want to make sure everything is OK. everybody is safe," said Charvet.
Following is the text of the statement from the W Hotel:
The W Austin is investigating the incident involving three glass balcony panels that fell Monday from unoccupied residences above the hotel, causing damage to cars but fortunately no injuries. Based on the information that is currently available, the hotel believes that one glass panel on the 31st floor was broken and that the resulting falling debris broke panels on the 29th and 22nd floors. It is unknown what caused the first panel to break. Engineering and glass experts are investigating and we continue to cooperate with city officials. No one was injured; it is believed that five parked cars were minimally damaged.
Although the exact cause of the breakage is unknown at this time, given that two other glass balcony panels shattered on June 10, the owners of the project have made the decision to replace every balcony glass panel on the building.
Temporary safety measures will be implemented immediately to prevent further incidents and covered pedestrian walkways will be erected around affected parts of the building.
While construction of the covered sidewalks is occurring, pedestrian access to the site on Lavaca, Guadalupe and Third Streets will be restricted. Although the hotel and residential lobby entrances to the building are temporarily closed, the hotel remains open and access to the property for guests, residents and patrons will be provided through the parking garage.
All vehicular lanes of traffic on Lavaca and Third Streets have been reopened.
Again, we are in the early stages of the investigation of this incident and will keep the media informed as we have more information.
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